ADUR VALLEY
NATURE NOTES 2001
AREA MAP 
(ADUR VALLEY & DOWNS)
Link to Adur Valley Nature Notes 2003

 
 Chalk Downs
 Coastal Fringe
 Intertidal (Seashore)
 Lancing Ring
 River Adur Estuary
 River Adur 
 Sea (off Sussex)
 Town & Gardens
 Widewater Lagoon
 Shermanbury (Adur Valley)
Stream near the Waterworks with extensive reedbeds (Photograph by Andy Horton)

 
 
 

 

Adur Valley Wildlife

Shoreham-by-Sea:  Adur Levels
including Cuckoo's Corner to Coombes

The river is build up on both sides through the low-lying flood plain and their are few marshes or wetlands aside the river. There are pleasant walks on the towpaths on both sides of the river, from Shoreham-by-Sea to Bramber, with the passage passable for bicycles, if you can put up with lifting your bicycle over a few stiles.

The River Adur flood plain
Top Picture: View from Mill Hill over towards Lancing Ring
Cursor Over: Stream near the Waterworks


    Common Centaury on the footpath from Old Shoreham (Waterworks Road) to Mill Hill (July 2003)Clay alluvian soil, brought down from the river sources in the Weald. The bank of part of the river is chalk. 
    Geology

    The pastures adjacent to the river are improved pastures with little special flowering plant interest but interesting for other wildlife. However, in the margins, some examples of the varied chalk downs fauna can be discovered.


REPORTS

CLICK ON THIS TEXT FOR THE WILDLIFE REPORTS 2004 ET SEQ.

 
4 December 2003
Absent last month, but now the bracket fungi has appeared on the logs as the cyclepath widens by the road layby south of Beeding Cement Works. Shining white with lawyer's wig top to its cap, the Shaggy Ink Cap, Coprinus comatus, was distinct amongst the undergrowth of brambles next to one of the logs.
 
 

Silver Birch galls (Photograph by Andy Horton) at the top of The Street, Old Shoreham
 

An Elder tree just off the Waterworks Road was covered in clumps of the distinctive Jew's Ear Fungus, Hirneola auricola-judae.
Fungi of Shoreham (with more images)

The trees were mostly bare except for the brown Ash keys and the galls in the Silver Birch.

2 December 2003
In the sombre winter landscape, the bright yellow belly of a Yellowhammer was clear and distinctive in the fields to the west of the Steyning Road north of Old Shoreham and the A27 Flyover. The bird appeared to be feeding on the grazing land by the stream and then flew into a Hawthorn or similar tree where it could be seen because all the leaves had fallen. The vegetation had been cut back on both sides by the stream. 
 

On the eastern side of the road a pair of Grey Herons took off on my approach. The usual Moorhens were not seen or heard in the afternoon. 
A small reddish toadstool poked its cap out from amongst the grass and chopped reeds laid prone to rot on the bank. The cap was under 20 mm across, but then another larger specimen had a flat cap at 35 mm in diameter. This species is Tubaria furfuracea. It is very common on damp wood fragments or even in rough grassland, especially late in the season.
(Laccaria laccata has thicker, more distant and more irregular gills and has been uncommon this year.) 

IDs and notes by Malcolm Storey (BioImages)


At the foot of a Hawthorn Tree there was a clump of Coprinus mushrooms. These look like Glistening Inkcap, Coprinus micaceus. Against the gate on the eastern side in the sheep grazed field a couple of logs lay prone. They were covered in small clumps of the bracket fungi Stereum hirsutum and unidentified Mushrooms.
Fungi of Shoreham (with more images)
Narrow Field next to the stream between the Steyning Road and the Waterworks

28 November 2003
According to the DETR page the short life span of about two years for urban Foxes is because they are run over and killed on the roads. Around Shoreham, this seems to happen on the country roads just outside of town. 
 

The Fox in the photograph was killed on the busy A27 road by the Sussex Pad where fatalities have occurred before. 

13 November 2003
In half an hours slow cycle ride from New Salts Farm to Cuckoo's Corner (via Shoreham Airport), I must have spotted about twenty Moorhens, in the fields with cows and in drainage ditches and small overgrown streams. This is more than usual, although this water bird hides amongst the reeds and they may just have been venturing out and it does not necessarily reflect increasing numbers. 
 

My suspicion is that the bush in the foreground was deliberately planted on the Lancing College (west) side of the road opposite Cuckoo's Corner
This bush has been identified as the Snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus, a native American plant introduced to Britain in 1817. ID by Ray Hamblett

As dusk drew in, the estimated count of Lapwings flying south over the River Adur near Cuckoo's Corner (on the Coombes Road) was 300. 
There were also two fleeting glimpses of hawks, the first flying along the Coombes Road by Cuckoo's Corner was probably a female Sparrowhawk. The second one, a couple of minutes later as the light faded, looked like a male Sparrowhawk that flew very low over the field next to the river that was seen from the gate separating Cuckoo's Corner from the towpath. Subsequent observations of a hawk on the dull afternoon of 20 November 2003 seem to indicate that it was more likely to be a female Kestrel, although the bird persistently refused to hover. 

12 November 2003
In an open field (The Circus Field) by the Steyning Road north of Old Shoreham, I caught the sight of three female Pheasants trotting into the undergrowth and I had a feeling there were more of them. In the grazed field on the other (west) side of the road, there were at least two Moorhens trotting ungainly amongst the horses and sheep. 

7 November 2003
Naked of their leaves, the Ash Trees on the Downs Link cyclepath midway between Old Shoreham and the Cement Works still had masses of rust-coloured keys, and these provided some shelter for visiting small flock of Long-tailed Tits.

Rosehips on the path SE of the Toll Bridge (Photograph by Andy Horton)6 November 2003
Just as I was resigned to the end of summer, a shirt sleeves sunny 16.6 ºC brought a Clouded Yellow Butterfly fluttering over the waste land next to the river just north of Adur Riverside Industrial Park (north of Ropetackle, Shoreham) in the late morning. Later in the afternoon another Red Admiral Butterfly fluttered over the path by horse's field on the south-west approaches of Mill Hill, (south of the A27 main road). 
Adur Butterflies Flight Times
UK November Butterflies
 
 

Australian Black Swans  (Photograph by Andy Horton)
Two Australian Black Swans, Cygnus atratus,
on the Swiss Cottage Lake, Shoreham-by-Sea.

They were accompanied by Mallards.

31 October 2003
A small flock of Long-tailed Tits were a pleasant attraction at Cuckoo's Corner (on the Coombes Road), favouring a Sycamore Tree near the new swing gate between the towpath and the car park, but also venturing into the taller trees where a Greater Spotted Woodpecker was clearly seen on the side of a tree trunk.


29 October 2003
The number of Cormorants flying over the Adur levels, with a few in the River Adur, between Old Shoreham and Botolphs exceeded one hundred, in just over an hour, a number not seen before by myself. The normal numbers I would expect to see would not exceed thirty. 
Cormorant Roost (Link)
There was a drably coloured female Pheasant on the Coombes road, which scrambled slowly into the undergrowth of fallen trees on the verge, plus a handful of Moorhens in the stubble field to the east of Applesham Farm (south of Coombes) and a young Roe Deer. The trees are again beginning to form a dark canopy on the approach road to Coombes from Shoreham. 

A small collection of leaves from the Coombes Road

Leaves from the Adur Recreation Ground and the Coombes Road
The black spot on the Sycamore is the Tar Spot fungus, Rhytisma acerina.
The small larva is that of an aphidivorous hoverfly.
(ID by Malcolm Storey, BioImages)
Note the chlorophyll green in the leaves which usually means the leaves are still on the tree. Some of these leaves had already fallen (or possibly knocked down)  and were picked from the leaf litter. The Oak leaf was picked from the tree.

There were a score or more each of both Crows and Wood Pigeons in the tree tops and they made an appreciable amount of noise as they left their perches.
Images of Autumn Trees near Shoreham
Tree Planting at Lancing College
Three Leaves of the Adur Estuarine Margins (Scanned Image)
Three Leaves of the Adur Estuarine Margins (CD-ROM only)

24 October 2003 
Nothing much moved apart from the traffic and a Kestrel hovering over the spaghetti-like feeder routes to the A27 bypass junction north of Old Shoreham. 

Autumn colours looking north-east from the Steyning Road,
Field Maple, Dogwood, and other trees viewed from just north of Old Shoreham, from the footpath stile, (where the route of the path crosses north-west across a heavily grazed pasture).

British Trees

17 October 2003 
There was a prolonged view of two Roe Deer (without antlers), one deer larger the other, skirting the fence and scrubby hedgerows/stream in the field on the levels immediately to the west of the lower slopes of Mill Hill. These are resident deer and there only appears to be the two that are regularly seen, but there are others on the downs
A birdwatcher reported that a Roe Deer was recently found dead on the Steyning Road. 

A grasshopper was still singing (=stridulating) in the patch of scrub near the old railway track south of the old Toll Bridge (in the area where the narrow path weaves a dodgy eroded route by the river). 
UK Grasshoppers and Crickets (Yahoo Group)

15 October 2003
A single Swallow flew over the river and low bushes at low height south east of the old Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham. There was at least one Red Admiral and just one Clouded Yellow Butterfly in the same area. 

In the horse's field next to the footpath from the Waterworks Road to Mill Hill, I was surprised to identify a Wall Brown Butterfly that settled. There were dozens of Pied Wagtails flying around by the A27 main road. 

Photograph by Andy Horton

Autumn in the clump of trees surrounding Bramber Castle (ruins)
east of Claysfield Farm and pond (open space)

Adur Levels: Beeding, Botolphs, Bramber and the north (web page)

On the Downs Link cyclepath just north of the A27 Flyover, two Migrant Hawker Dragonflies, Aeshna mixta, seemed to feeding on midges (or small flies). Common Darter Dragonflies, Sympetrum striolatum, were widespread, some brown and a handful were bright red males.

14 October 2003
"I went to Wood's Mill (at Small Dole, the headquarters of the Sussex Wildlife Trust) with my year group. We did lots of games and had a great time. We went pond dipping, me and Hannah  found dragonfly larvae, water boatman, blood worms, snails and a whirlygig and a leech.
After that we had to be detectives and look out for tracks, poo and clues for wild animals, we found some fox's poo and some deer tracks.
We saw a Speckled Wood and a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly. Someone in the group saw a Kingfisher."


8 October 2003
On the footpath from the Waterworks Road to Mill Hill, about 25 Common Darter Dragonflies, Sympetrum striolatum, and at least one Migrant Hawker, Aeshna mixta, were seen in the early afternoon. At least two Red Admiral Butterflies fluttered around, although there was hardly any Buddleia in flower. A Kestrel hovered over the Waterworks. 
Butterfly Report
Adur Dragonflies

8 October 2003
Two Kingfishers and two Water Rails, Rallus aquaticus, were seen near Cuckoo's Corner, on the Coombes Road. This is assumed to be by the freshwater Ladywell Stream.


Water Rails are very shy and secretive birds that hide amongst the reeds, and this is the first record known to me in the lower Adur valley. The Sussex Ornithological Society status for this water bird is as a scarce resident, winter vagrant or passage migrant.  There are dense reed beds on the east side of the river near the Waterworks and patches near New Salts Farm (approach to the airport from the south), but the Shoreham & District Ornithological Society has this bird recorded as a migrant seen in harsh weather. The day was exceptionally mild for October. This bird is sometimes heard but not seen and Roy Bratton reports that up to the spring of this year was known from Cokeham Reed Beds. (The reed thickets at Cokeham are so dense that the bird may still be there but remains unseen.)

5 October 2003
About fifty Lapwings whirled around as dusk approached waiting to land on the estuarine mud. These birds are common and at low tide hundreds are seen in winter on the mud flats. 

3 October 2003
It appeared to be a large brightly coloured greenish-yellow bird* feeding in an open field (The Circus Field) by the Steyning Road north of Old Shoreham, and was almost certainly a Yellowhammer, Emberiza citrinella, evidenced by its call above the hum of the continual traffic. This bird is seen more often on nearby Mill Hill. There were scores of House Martins flying from west to east and congregating prior to emigration, and the numbers totally well over one hundred in half an hour. (*18 months later it occurred to me this bird could possibly have been a Green Woodpecker?)
Flying over the derelict Cement Works at Upper Beeding, I thought I spotted the grey/silver face of a Rook, which seems to be unusual (or overlooked by me) in the lower Adur valley. The Rook is classed as "very common resident" by the Sussex Ornithological Society. The Shoreham & District Ornithological Society has identified local rookeries

20 September 2003
At least a dozen Common Darter Dragonflies, Sympetrum striolatum, rose from the South Downs Link cyclepath just north of the old Toll Bridge as I pedalled slowly along. Painted Lady and Red Admiral Butterflies were out in the 22.5 ºC sunshine.
Butterfly List

19 September 2003
A Kestrel suddenly dived into a bush causing a bit of commotion on the path south east of the old Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham. It may have been after one of the plentiful House Sparrows

16 September 2003
My first Migrant Hawker Dragonfly, Aeshna mixta, of the year is seen through binoculars, hawking to and fro and never settling over the stream by the Steyning Road (TQ 209 068), just north of the A27 Flyover. It had a dark blue thorax and a brown head. 
Full Report (including Butterflies)

14 September 2003
On New Monks Farm, Lancing, the pretty little Stonechat, chatted from the top of one of thousands of thistles, its beak opening on its black head, with its attractive pinkish-brown breast and white neck indicating the male. There was a handful of these sparrow-sized birds seen in the tall metre-high vegetation. Both Emperor Dragonflies and Common Darter Dragonflies were on the wing near the damp stroud next to Withy Patch.

12 September 2003
An adult Roe Deer literally jumped out of the tall thistles its reddish-brown hide (summer coat) seen very clearly and this was a much larger deer than I had seen before at relatively close quarters, probably up to a metre in height (about 75 cm to the shoulders), and there was extensive rustling nearer the Hawthorn and caught a glimpse of another deer. The deer did not appear to have antlers but the deer was away in scarcely more than a second and it was difficult to be sure. This narrow field next to the stream by the Steyning Road (TQ 209 068) has been known as a place where these deer could rest usually undisturbed in the late afternoon. My first record was on 14 September 2001, but they could be stumbled upon in all months of the year. I have never heard the deer bark and these pair were silent. 

On the South Downs Link cyclepath just north of the A27 Flyover, a Wall Brown Butterfly settled in the same location that this species had been seen in July and August this year, (but not recorded in the previous two years). On the path south of the old Toll Bridge, there was still some Buddleia in flower with at least a  couple of now faded Painted Lady Butterflies and some (5+) strong flying Red Admirals.
 

Small Copper Butterfly8 September 2003
The narrow field next to the stream by the Steyning Road (TQ 209 068) was still impenetrable after 100 metres  because of the Creeping Thistles, but there was also Creeping Cinquefoil (? close species ?), Water Mint, Willowherb, Fleabane and Teasel, altogether the vegetation associated with a neglected pasture that was no longer grazed. This seems to be the habitat favoured by the Small Copper Butterfly and at least two of these small prettily coloured insects landed and remained still. It looked dainty but chased off what could have been a Common Blue Butterfly. The only dragonfly seen was a male Common Darter on the cyclepath south of the Cement Works. 

Pond at the road entrance to Lancing College (Photograph by Andy Horton)7 September 2003
In the grounds of Lancing College, in front of what used to be Burwell's Farm is a small pond (TQ 197 063) that hosts a wide variety of wildlife. We were treated to a glimpse of a Kingfisher as it darted from a branch of an Willow Tree into more secluded cover. The stream-fed pond was very low and covered in vegetation after the long dry summer.

Full Report
Lancing Nature Gallery (by Ray Hamblett)
Lancing Ring Wildlife

c. 4 September 2003
A young Roe Deer jumping out of the bushes surprised a dog walker on the South Downs Link cyclepath just north of the A27 Flyover. It appeared from the field to the east.

25 August 2003
On the Buddleia bushes south east of the old Toll Bridge, there no butterflies to be seen in rapid passing but at least two Emperor Dragonflies* which seemed to be actively hunting although no prey could be seen. On an overcast day, the maximum 79% humidity at a shade temperature of up to 22.5 º was uncomfortable. The humidity did fall to 59% in the mid-afternoon, but it was in the morning and evening when the humidity rose above 70%, it was distressing. 
(*These may have been a Southern Hawkers.)

Adur Dragonflies

24 August 2003
At the riverside south east of the old Toll Bridge, two Slow Worms, a Common Lizard and numerous Shore Crabs were discovered by lifting stones and pieces of driftwood.


20 August 2003
North of Old Shoreham where the footpath from the Steyning Road passes through thick scrub (to avoid the gate to the Waterworks Road - leading to Mill Hill), a Speckled Wood Butterfly fluttered by. Unlike the weekend, the Common Carder (Bumble) Bee, Bombus pascuorum, in the butterfly copse (TQ 209 063) near the Waterworks Road had a very distinct orange furry thorax, where the Emperor Dragonfly* was on patrol. As the footpath turned the corner the first of a handful of small female Common Blue Butterflies obliged by opening their wings (pic), however briefly. As I neared the bridge at the top, a basking Comma Butterfly stood out from the greenery and Elderberry bushes on the overgrown road embankment by the tall garden hedge. (This approach path to the downs has a habitat that is part flood plain, part gardens, urban and wasteland, and part downs flora and fauna, and this also applies to the adjacent A27 road embankment.)
(*This may have been a Southern Hawker.)
Butterfly List

19 August 2003
The Green-veined White Butterfly favoured brief nectaring on the Willowherb, Epilobium, to Fleabane, Water Mint and other plants. There are two of these butterflies confirmed settling simultaneously and probably a few more in the narrow field next to the stream by the Steyning Road (TQ 209 068).

14 August 2003
Even the Adur flood plain was parched dry. Along the South Downs Link cyclepath from Old Shoreham to Bramber and the north, the only butterfly of note was a single Green-veined White that settled on a Bramble, and even these  butterflies may only be exiguously on record because they have been overlooked before. 
An Emperor Dragonfly* patrolled the tops of the cyclepath bushes, that were virtually trees. (*This may have been a Southern Hawker.)

6 August 2003
I was buzzed repeatedly by a magnificent Emperor Dragonfly* the butterfly copse (TQ 209 063) near the Waterworks Road. This predator looked capable of tackling the butterflies that visited the Buddleia, and there are several reports of it including butterflies amongst its insect prey. 
(*This may have been a Southern Hawker.)
Reports of Dragonfly Predation on Butterflies (UK Dragonflies)
Adur Dragonflies

3 August 2003
A new emerged Brimstone Butterfly in a magnificent yellow colour was seen in the butterfly copse (TQ 209 063) near the Waterworks Road. It persisted in hiding under a leaf or flying out of photographic range. The Brimstone Butterfly was first seen yesterday.
Butterfly List

Painted lady on Buddleia31 July 2003
First impressions seemed to indicate an even greater influx of Painted Lady Butterflies than yesterday as a half a dozen danced around one Buddleia bush on the cyclepath south of the Toll Bridge. I did not explore further, but there were the reddish Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies, one Small Skipper, Large Whites and the usual Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns
The butterfly copse (TQ 209 063) near the Waterworks Road added Red Admirals, a Comma, a Peacock Butterfly, and the first settled Holly Blue of the second brood this year. The path to Mill Hill added a Small White and another Large Skipper. There were two species of hoverflies including the abundant Marmalade Hoverfly, Episyrphus balteatus.
 
 
 
 
 

The A27 embankment south-east of the Mill Hill bridge produced a dozen Common Blues, including females, and one male Chalkhill Blue. Then after 45 minutes, it began to rain. 
That was thirteen species of butterfly on a small detour.

Female Common Blue (Photograph by Andy Horton)30 July 2003
Brushing through the thistles in the field next to the stream by the Steyning Road (TQ 209 068), I discovered the butterfly that had so many orange spots that I had penned it as a Brown Argus until I examined the photograph which has it down as a female Common Blue
Female Common Darter Dragonflies were on the wing, although I only noted one.
On the cycle path north of the Toll Bridge, the immigrant butterflies were most noticeable: Red Admirals, Painted Ladies and the reddish Small Tortoiseshells.
Butterfly List (Species Recorded)
Adur Butterflies

28 July 2003
Compared to the recent heatwave, the day was overcast, pleasantly cool and breezy. Painted Lady Butterflies (10+) were immediately noticeable on the  path south-east of the Toll Bridge, with just one Large White, the inevitable Gatekeepers and a few Red Admirals
The Buddleia and nettles in the copse (TQ 209 063) near the Waterworks Road abounded with butterflies. At my approach they left their flowers in all directions with Red Admirals (12+) being most noticeable, the resident Comma (now looking slightly worn), a single Holly Blue and I also discovered a Peacock Butterfly
On the path to Mill Hill, there were the first Meadow Browns and some Gatekeepers, In the horse's field in the north-west corner there were a dozen Common Blue Butterflies.
Butterfly List (Full Report)
Adur Butterflies

24 July 2003

Teasels and Peacock Butterfly (Photograph by Andy Horton)

Teasels and Peacock Butterfly

Large numbers of Red Admiral Butterflies (30+) were noted all over the rough ground on the edge of town. Two more butterflies not recorded with the fifteen species yesterday were a single Peacock Butterfly feeding on Teasel by the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham and the resident Comma Butterfly in the nearby copse with a Holly Blue. The magnificent sight of the green thorax and dark blue body (abdomen) of the male Emperor Dragonfly was something to behold. They frequented the Waterworks Road and a bright red male Common Darter was over the thistle-covered field by the Steyning Road. 
The Teasel on the cycle path from Shoreham to Upper Beeding attracted three chirms of Goldfinches of about a dozen birds each, a colourful sight on a breezy day. This path also hosted at least a dozen Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies, many more than had been seen recently. These may be the new brood. 
Butterfly List
Adur Butterflies

23 July 2003
About fifty Common Blue Butterflies roosted on a small clump of Cocksfoot in the north-west corner of the horse's field at the top of the Street, Old Shoreham, by the footpath to Mill Hill. Nearby a Chalkhill Blue basked in the heat of the intermittent sun. In the butterfly copse (near the Waterworks Road) (TQ 209 063) a Magpie Moth made a brief appearance. 

In the field to the west of Mill Hill in the flood plain provided a roost for dozens Common Blue and Chalkhill Blue Butterflies that were actually seen and because it was a large field there could have been many more, although the numbers did seem to thin out further into the long coarse grasses. 

Large White
20 July 2003
The Buddleia and nettles in the copse (TQ 209 063) near the Waterworks Road attracted Red Admirals (5+) and a Comma Butterfly. Large Whites, Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers were in flight over wasteland and around allotments.
 

19 July 2003
Large Whites (50+), Meadow Browns (50+) and Gatekeeper (35+) were everywhere from Ropetackle (Shoreham-by-Sea), north along the cyclepath (TQ 210 054) to Old Shoreham, the Waterworks Road and on the cyclepath to Upper Beeding. These were certainly Small White Butterflies as well. A Common Blue flitted past, 50 metres south of the Toll Bridge.

Blue butterfly amongst the ferns. Click on the image to identify it. 

Chalkhill Blue Butterflies on the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham numbered at least five and they could be seen immediately, on the margins amongst the ferns, just north of where the road passed under the A27 Flyover. A male Emperor Dragonfly was on patrol.

In the copse (TQ 209 063) the Buddleia was in flower and two flights of Red Admiral Butterflies were seen, totalling six or more butterflies, were disturbed by a dog walker.

The field next to the stream by the Steyning Road (TQ 209 068) was so full of Creeping Thistles that it was nigh impossible to transverse without being pricked uncomfortably, even by choosing easier passage through Fleabane. At least a dozen Small/Essex Skippers flitted around and settled occasionally in the tall vegetation. (These could be Essex Skippers. No attempt has been made to separate the two species.)
Adur Skippers

A dark Peacock Butterfly settled and one almost certainly more, Wall Brown Butterflies were seen amongst vegetation including Fleabane on the cyclepath on the east side of Adur from Old Shoreham northwards. 

15 July 2003
I had a brief glimpse of a Yellowhammer that flew over the butterfly copse (TQ 209 063) seemed to indicate it was probably nesting nearby. 

14 July 2003
Time and heat (28.4 ºC) allowed just a brief detour down the Old Shoreham Waterworks Road, where the butterflies in order of appearing were a LargeSkipper, a darker oil painting-style Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly, a brown coloured Comma that settled on my bicycle, followed by about dozen Large Whites, with probably some Small Whites as well, up to a score of mostly male Meadow Browns, and at least one Gatekeeper.  A Chalkhill Blue was confirmed on a thistle amongst the nettles nearer the Waterworks house where the stream running alongside the road had dried up. A handful of very blue Common Blue Butterflies, just one Red Admiral in the copse (TQ 209 063) leading to The Street, a handful of Small Skippers and one bright Painted Lady completed a surprisingly high tally in just half an hour on the edge of town. 
 
Comma Butterfly
Chalkhill Blue

Twelve species of butterfly was almost the complete gamut that could be expected without looking for them. The breeding area of the Chalkhill Blue is less than 700 metres away but it is almost completely a Sycamore wood in between. The feeding area next to the Waterworks Road was an area of mown grass in the 1970s but now it is tall (over a metre high) sward of thistles, nettles and Ragwort etc. No dragonflies or damselflies appeared.
Adur Butterflies
Blue Butterflies of Shoreham

11 July 2003
In the thistle jungle between the Steyning Road and the Waterworks (TQ 209 068), a bright red Darter Dragonfly was impressive, but also flighty, avoiding the camera. This was originally thought to be a Common Darter, but it could have been a Ruddy Darter.)  A Moorhen clattered up the stream and the incongruous sight was a Great Spotted Woodpecker overhead, flying for the nearest tree. 

10 July 2003
The towpath from Old Shoreham Toll Bridge north to Cuckoo's Corner on the western side of the River Adur was graced by a Grey Heron. Butterflies fluttered in the hot sun with a large handful of Small White Butterflies, Red Admirals and Meadow Browns, plus more than one Small Tortoiseshell. North of Cuckoo's Corner, a Pheasant strutted in the road, and scuttled into the heavy roadside undergrowth at my approach.
On New Monk's Farm, Lancing there were over a hundred small-sized Skippers (definitely Small included) seen, plus a handful of Meadow Brown Butterflies and just a single Small Copper Butterfly seen feeding on Ragwort.
In Ray Hamblett's south Lancing garden, (TQ 186 044), the butterfly count included a Common Blue and a Comma.
Visiting the bird table the adult Greenfinches were a bright green, but young were not so bright. On the ground a single Dunnock picked up the scraps.
The Teasel was at least 230 cm high.  On 18 July 2003 this garden also produced a Peacock Butterfly.

Small Skipper (Photograph by Andy Horton) on Lancing Ring meadows7 July 2003
On the cycle path from Old Shoreham Toll Bridge south to Ropetackle (TQ 210 054) at least two each of the following butterflies were seen: Small Skipper, Large White, Meadow Brown, Painted Lady, and at least one Red Admiral and one Small Tortoiseshell.
Small Skipper antennae (image)
 

 The Teasels were developing their purple flowers.

5 July 2003
Green-veined White (Photographs by Andy Horton)The field next to the stream (TQ 209 068) leading to the Waterworks (north of Old Shoreham) accessed from the Steyning Road was difficult going with thistles and nettles. A handful of Large Skippers, up to a dozen Meadow Brown Butterflies, a few Red Admirals, and just one white butterfly made an immediate appearance. The black markings especially on the edge of the wings were particularly marked on this butterfly which made  me think it was a Large White Butterfly, but subsequent observation of Large Whites have now made me identify this butterfly as the Green-veined White.
 

Common Darter (Photograph by Andy Horton)
Common Darter (Photograph by Andy Horton)

But it was dragonflies that I made the visit for. There was my first (female)  Common Darter, Sympetrum striolatum, of the year, possibly the commonest and most widespread of all the British dragonflies. This was the only dragonfly showing, although I expect there were more around.
Adur Dragonflies

Comma Butterfly (Photograph by Andy Horton)3 July 2003
On a humid and overcast day, about a hundred Pyramid Orchids, Anacamptis pyramidalis, were hidden amongst the roadside undergrowth at the entrance of the footpath to Mill Hill on the Steyning Road just north of Old Shoreham. In the Butterfly Copse, (TQ 209 063), where the footpath leaves the Waterworks Road for Mill Hill, there was just one Comma Butterfly. I disturbed my first Emperor Dragonfly of the year, distinguished by its large size only (as I did not get a decent view as it flew rapidly off). The adjacent horse fields produced a handful each of Marbled White and Meadow Brown Butterflies.
Adur Butterflies

28 June 2003
A rambler (with high quality binoculars) commented on the Linnet perched on the telephone wires on the waste ground on the railway path, running south from the eastern end of the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham.

26 June 2003
Amongst the common House Sparrow flocks on the waste ground at the eastern end of the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham, I spotted a Lesser Whitethroat*, the birds clearly distinguished by its white throat. This unpromising looking ex-railway track supports quite a variety of birds if examined over a long period, but many are passage migrants and rarely is there a large selection on just one day. There was a single Painted Lady Butterfly (brighter than the recent ones) and a couple of Red Admirals
(* It could just have likely been a Common Whitethroat, these small birds are usually hiding in a bush.)

Pyramid Orchid (Photograph by Andy Horton)On New Monks Farm, Lancing (west of Shoreham Airport) an out of flight season Peacock Butterfly in good condition settled south of the Withy Patch.
There were Pyramid Orchids, Anacamptis pyramidalis, in the grass between Shoreham Airport and the A27 near the Sussex Pad traffic lights. 
Adur Butterflies

25 June 2003
For a little bird the Wren can make a lot of noise as it flew from the towpath into the Ricardos compound on the western side of the River Adur by the Toll Bridge

21 June 2003
Revisiting the thistle jungle (TQ 209 068) from a couple of days ago, focused on photographing the damselflies, and I succeeded in confirming the identity of the Blue-tailed Damselflies, Ischnura elegans, (12+) amongst the Azure Damselflies, Coenagrion puella, (12+). 

Large Skipper (Photograph by Andy Horton)Notable observations were made of one Large Skipper, a handful of Meadow Brown Butterflies and a few Small Tortoiseshells. I disturbed a resting Cinnabar Moth and one Poplar Hawk-moth.
Image Page

19 June 2003
The field next to the stream (TQ 209 068) to the west of the Waterworks (Old Shoreham) was like a jungle with thistles and nettles. Azure Damselflies, Coenagrion puella, were common (50+) looked an extremely bright blue at times and some were black with just a bright blue tip on their tail. The latter were Blue-tailed Damselflies, Ischnura elegans.
 

Click on the images of the damselflies for a closer look of the Azure Damselflies. .
Adur Damselflies & Dragonflies
Links: List of Dragonfly Sites (left hand column)

Dark Bush Cricket (Photograph by Andy Horton)
A large bright yellow butterfly (underside) persistently caught my attention as it fluttered strongly out of photographic range. The upperside was white with two black marks, so I have identified this as a Large White Butterfly. Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies were frequent (15+) and their caterpillars were observed on nettles. Several young (at least 3) Dark Bush Crickets, Pholidoptera griseoaptera, were slow to hide in the thick vegetation. 
 

On the cycle path under the A27 flyover, Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies were more numerous (25+) with an occasional Painted Lady Butterfly, more colourful than the drab specimens seen before.

14 June 2003
45 Mute Swans were counted on the still tidal part of the River Adur at Upper Beeding by the disused Cement Works. My cyclepath cycle from Old Shoreham, on a pleasantly sunny day, disturbed a handful each of Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, and Red Admiral Butterflies plus a single Grizzled Skipper on the eastern side of the South Downs Way footbridge.
Adur Butterflies
Spotted Orchid (Photograph by Andy Horton)
13 June 2003
A large clump of Viper's Bugloss is in bloom at the eastern end of the Foot Bridge where the cycle path to Bramber starts.

9 June 2003
The Beautiful Damselflies are fluttering in my Shermanbury garden.

Report by Allen Pollard
Shermanbury (Adur Valley) Wildlife Photographs

8 June 2003
As a steady strong breeze (Force 6) gusted to gale force, making a white caps of the small wavelets in the Adur estuary, a handful of dull coloured Painted Lady Butterflies and a single Red Admiral Butterfly were disturbed on the Old Shoreham cycleway to Upper Beeding, where the Hardheads were beginning to flower amongst the Ox-eye Daisies, with a single Spotted Orchid, Dactylorhiza fuchsii. Cups of water from the overnight rain were retained in the lower leaves of the Teasel

Bird's Foot Trefoil (Photograph by Andy Horton)

The yellow of the Horseshoe Vetch had disappeared as a yellow carpet on the downs and the yellow borders on the cycle path were Bird's Foot Trefoil, at least one clump of this prostrate plant over knee high, 50 mm from the ground. This plant usually attains a height of up to 40 mm. 

The Bird's Foot Trefoil had a solid stem which means it is Lotus corniculatus, Lotus uliginosa has a hollow stem. (This can be confused by larger continental species planted by landscape gardeners.)

Identification Notes by Tina Teearu via UK Botany


2 June 2003
On the fringes of the Sycamore woods on the sheer slopes of Mill Hill near Old Shoreham, I could not help notice the number of Robin Redbreasts this year, including the Waterworks Road and footpath to the downs. 

Robin on the footpath from the Waterworks Road to Mill Hill

Dull coloured Painted Lady Butterflies had just immigrated and they were common, in ones and twos on the levels, but many more on the downs.
At Coombes Brianne Reeve reported a dozen Painted Lady Butterflies on a single bush. 

27 May 2003
The Environment Agency are trying to implement measures to control what is believed to be the only remaining Water Vole population in Sussex on New Monks Farm, Lancing. The habitat is under threat both from the airport expansion plans and legal spoil dumping on the 120 acres of land between Shoreham Airport and Lancing. 

Report by Mark Elliott (Environment Agency)
NB:There are small (350+) populations of Water Voles near Pagham in West Sussex. 

24 May 2003
A Common Lizard skittered across the towpath the runs along the eastern boundary with the River Adur estuary. This was at the Railway Viaduct end. 

20 May 2003
Ox-eye Daisy and Bird's Foot Trefoil are just two plants now in flower on the eastern riverbank north of the Railway Viaduct.

Lichens on a Willow (or Withy) Tree in the Withy Patch

Lichens on a Willow (or Withy) Tree in the Withy Patch

The damp northern border to New Monks Farm (including the Withy Patch) are colonised by Willows, Hawthorn, Sycamore and Ash Trees. 

17 May 2003
My first large fungi (mushroom-like) of the year are seen in short grass at the edge of heavy scrub next to the Waterworks Road (south end), Old Shoreham (TQ 207 066). The fungus is photographed below. The cap diameter was about 20 mm, but I forgot to examine the gills and stem. Emile Vandecasteele has identified this as probably Coprinus plicatilis via the Fungi British Isles Yahoo Group. This species is "as common as muck", i.e. very common in grassy places, including garden lawns. 
Cercle mycophile du Condroz (web pages with photographs)

There were small clumps of Horseshoe Vetch in the cutting where the A27 by-pass cuts its way through Mill Hill

16 May 2003
On a damp day, the following small birds seen within less than a minute south of the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham, in and around the bushes on the east side of the river: one each of Robin Redbreast, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, followed by an attractive pair of Linnets, which confirmed my earlier identification, and a couple of minutes later, further south a Greenfinch showed.  All very common birds in and around Shoreham, but not so often they can all be seen simultaneously. Even Linnets could be missing from a bird feeding station.

8 May 2003
On the Adur Levels (TQ 209 068) to the west of the Waterworks (Old Shoreham) no damselflies or dragonflies appeared.

There was little movement at all, the inevitable Moorhens in the reeds and Yellow Flag, a Blackbird and Meadow Pipit showed, and a handful of Wood Pigeons were disturbed. In the sheep field to the north, I spotted the white rump of a large Roe Deer as it disappeared in the eastern demarcation bushes from the Mill Hill lower meadows.

7 May 2003
A couple of extraordinary very small birds (larger than a Willow Tit, smaller than a Chaffinch) flew over the Railway Viaduct over the River Adur, Shoreham in the direction of Adur Recreation Ground and Shoreham Airport. These birds were redder in the breast than Chaffinches as well, with a stripe in their tail feathers.
Their funny behaviour was the way they tried to hide in the grass on the east bank, but the grass was too short and after shuffling down for a bit, they flew off. This 'hiding in the grass' behaviour is not known to me for Chaffinches and I do not know it for any bird as I have never seen anything like this before.
They called when they shuffled down in the grass as well, their chittering distinctive call was interrupted by the sound of a train (and I do not know if the call continued as they flew off).
The overwhelming consensus on UK Birdnet and the  Sussex Birds Yahoo Group, as well as other local reports, is that these birds are Linnets and I agree.
Terrain (click on this text for an image)

6 May 2003
Afternoon
Orange Tip (Photograph by Andy Horton)At Cuckoo's Corner, the flash of orange and white of the male Orange Tip Butterfly was sudden and unmistakable. There were a couple of the larger all-white females as well. From the trees on the Lancing College side of the road, a Cuckoo called just once. 
The drainage ditch running north from Cuckoo's Corner was choked with floating weeds or algae. Scores of Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies, mostly faded, fluttered over the grasses and plants by the stream's edge. Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies were also present on New Monk's Farm, Lancing.

East of Applesham Farm near the junction with the Coombes road, a Skylark rose from behind the clipped hedge and sang. 

Morning
A pair of Speckled Wood Butterflies flirted on the Waterworks Road with a handful of Red Admirals on the footpath skirting the horse's field on the way up to Mill Hill.
 

3 May 2003
A dead Common Frog was discovered in my Lancing garden pond (TQ 186 044) with all the symptoms of the Red Leg Disease. The disease is now understood to be caused by a virus, probably an iridovirus belonging to the genus Ranavirus. The disease (unidentified at the time) was known from Surrey in the 1970s. 
Image
Red Leg Disease Fact Sheet

Cuckoo Flower (Photograph by Andy Horton)22 April 2003
Scores of Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies fluttered around on the Botolphs side of the river near the South Downs Way Bridge, with a chirm of Goldfinches in the set-aside field. Robin Redbreasts are very noticeable here as they are near the disused Beeding Cement Works. There were many clumps of Cowslips on the Old Shoreham to Bramber cyclepath

Milkmaids, Lady’s Smock or Cuckoo Flower, Cardamine pratensis,
traditionally flowers as the Cuckoos arrive. The Milkmaids thrives in damp meadow land, particularly cattle pasture; unfortunately as this habitat is “improved” out of existence this beautiful flower is decreasing throughout the country. There were several clumps of this plant bordering the streams near Botolphs. (Milkmaids is the name I have heard used locally.)
More Images
Wild Flower Information

20 April 2003
Dingy Skipper Butterfly was seen at Upper Beeding (near Steyning) in the Adur valley on a breezy overcast Easter Sunday morning. This species is not often recorded, although it is known from Mill Hill

Report by Jim Steedman via the UK-Leps EForum


17 April 2003

Water Boatman (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

Backswimmer
Notonecta sp.
Photograph by Ray Hamblett


Peacock Butterfly (Photograph by Andy Horton)15 April 2003

On a pleasantly warm (18.5° C) calm day, Peacock Butterflies fluttered over New Monks Farm by the Withy Patch as the diggers deposited vast amounts of inert spoil, soil with concrete slabs etc. 
 

A couple of Speckled Wood Butterflies were spotted behind Steyning in the Adur valley.

Report by Allen Pollard via the UK-Leps EForum
Upper Adur East (Shermanbury area) Nature Pages
Adur Butterflies
 

Cowslips next to the cyclepath (Photograph by Andy Horton)13 April 2003
On the cyclepath just north of Old Shoreham, I spotted a Brimstone Butterfly (first record on these pages from this area) and four Skylarks over the water meadows. A Red-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus lapidarius was also seen. Clumps of Cowslip, Primula veris, were in flower.


7 April 2003
A Pheasant poked his long head above the grass to the call in the fields next to the cycle path north of Old Shoreham. It did not fly away but crouched down so it was almost invisible. 

28 March 2003
A Short Eared Owl was seen twice in the early evening over New Monks Farm, Lancing.

Report by Bob Kent (Lancing) on the Sussex Birds Yahoo Group


24 March 2003
Spring seems to have finally arrived. It looked like a couple of Swallows diving rather low over the stream adjacent to the River Adur to the east of Shoreham Airport. There was a local buff coloured Meadow Pipit with its dipping flight over the Sea Purslane at low tide. 
Lesser Celandine (Photograph by Andy Horton)Scores of Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies and Buff-tailed Bumblebees were around the fringes of Shoreham town and on the Coombes road and a single Peacock Butterfly settled on the cycle path by the Cement Works. The yellow flowers by the Coombes roadside were Lesser Celandine. There were hundreds of sheep and newly born lambs (with blue tags in their ears) in the fields adjoining the road especially near Church Farm, Coombes. 

Vernal Equinox
Bumble Bee Page

19 March 2003
The bumblebee on the railway path near the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham, was striped orange and black. This was the Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, which is the commonest species locally. The white tail is usually very clear with this species. (The White-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus locurum is similar but smaller.)
Adur Bumblebees

The chirrupy calls of the Robin Redbreast were noticeable north of the Toll Bridge, and a particularly colourful Chaffinch singing from a tree on the short path from Botolphs to the River Adur (just to the north of the South Downs Way bridge). To the north of the path it appears to be recently (2001?) neglected or set-aside land, notably better in wildlife than the adjacent arable lands. Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies were seen near shelter in the valley, but only about six of these butterflies were flying strongly and not settling. 
A Little Egret was the only bird in the first flood plain field north of the Toll Bridge (field artificially seeded for cattle). This field tends to be damp with deep drainage streams around the edge.

5 March 2003
At 3:30 pm a single Swallow flew up the Adur then low across the Shoreham Airport heading north west. A real early bird?

Report by Bob Kent (Lancing) on the Sussex Birds Yahoo Group


19 February 2003
Withy Patch  (TQ 193 057)
Nothing until I started pushing, then two Blue Tits, two Great Tits, four Long-tailed Tits, a Goldcrest and a couple of Robin shopped out. Also a distant Great Spotted Woodpecker calling but unfortunately no Willow Tit, and no Barn Owl which I had seen there before.

Previous Report from Withy Patch

18 February 2003
In the drainage ditches surrounding the sheep fields on the Adur levels by the Waterworks (north of Old Shoreham) the water was covered by ice at a thickness of 20 mm at midday. It was not clear if the frogs had laid their spawn yet. The deeper slow running stream was clear of ice.
At 2:30 pm the dew point was minus 7.4°C, the humidity down to 40% but the temperature which had been above freezing for most of the day had risen to 5.4°C in a light breeze that chilled at 3.2°C.
Beaufort Scale

In the stroud by the weighbridge just to the west of Withy Patch, Lancing, (TQ 193 057) I heard the call of the Willow Tit, the call repeated four times in one burst, distinctly, despite the hum of the traffic as dusk approached, before all the other hidden birds burst into song.
Later, slight doubts crept in that on this occasion in could have been a Great Tit calling? 
PS: I eventually rejected the sighting as unlikely.
Call of the Willow Tit (second call heard)
Great Tit call (can sound a bit like that of the Willow Tit)
Previous Report
Just north of the Old Shoreham Toll Bridge, every 30 metres or so there was a Chaffinch, in the hedgerow next to the horse field, a frequently seen bird, but not as readably noticeable when there is greenery on the bushes. (These may be migrant birds?)

Pochards on Brooklands (Photograph by Andy Horton)

12 February 2003
On a misty drizzly day the Ruddy Shelduck sheltered in the lee of the island on Brookland's Boating Lake, with over fifty Coots, a couple of Moorhens and a small flock of about a dozen Pochards which could be seen reasonably close up (with 10 x 25 binoculars) with their attractive maroon head (male only).

18 January 2003
Looking for Willow Tits near the Withy Patch (TQ 192 057), Lancing, alas, there was only a couple of Blue Tits
Willow Tits at Withy Patch 2002

27 December 2002
Straight as an arrow, the Kingfisher flew the the length of the stream by Adur Metal Works, just over over a metre above the surface of the contaminated water, the turquoise showing for the complete length of the sudden flight under the doctored branches of surviving Monterey Cypresses(TQ 210 053).

23 December 2002
Six Brent Geese were feeding on the flooded airfield. Five of them had dark breasts, and a sixth one was lighter in colour. The sky was black with hundreds of Lapwings.

20 December 2002
I noted that the Meadow Pipits on the cycle path and airport showed their tail underwing as a very distinctive bright white in contrast to their rich chocolate brown speckled breasts.These birds were streaked with the orange very distinct against the dark brown, larger than expected, and more thrush-like in appearance. 
NB: So different (thrush-like) were these pipits from the local pipits in the fields, e.g. on New Monk's Farm, and so pronounced were the white outer tail weathers in contrast to the dark other feathers, that I do not think that these are local pipits but migrant birds moving south. My favourite choice is a Meadow Pipit that has recently moulted. Meadow Pipits are reported to undergo a partial moult in the first three months of the year. Some books make a distinction based on colour and the darkest birds are known as whistleri and are meant to be found in Ireland and western Scotland. These may be known as thereas in earlier books and these are the darkest of the Meadow Pipits. The thereas plumage distinction is now thought not to be distinct enough to warrant separation. 
Ref: British Larks, Pipits and Wagtails (by Eric Simms NN 1992).

As it was high tide the hundreds of Lapwings were on the airport grass. 

14 December 2002
At 1:30 pm a farmer and his dog flushed four Snipe from the rushes on the west bank of the stream that runs from the New Salts Farm Road railway bridge to the dog kennels (TQ 205 048). The birds headed north over the airport. This long beaked bird is now mainly a winter visitor only.


23 November 2002
A quick view of a Willow Tit, Parus montanus, fluttering above the bushes on the northern margins of New Monks Farm, east Lancing, near the weighbridge, (TQ 192 057), to the west of Withy Patch, was my first recorded sighting of this bird that I am unfamiliar with. The call was very clear (second voice on the file)  and different from the similar Marsh Tit.  However, the Shoreham & District Ornithological Society booklet describes this bird as the rarest of the titmice in the local area, but there is no longer any doubt about my identification of my fleeting observation as I cycled past. This bird is in rapid decline in most habitats since the 1970s. This bird was not seen by anybody else, so it was not a confirmed sighting. 
PS: I eventually rejected the sighting as unlikely.
UK Wildlife Discussion
Willow Tit Register
Sussex Ornithological Society Titmice
BTO Status
Birdguides Information Page
Wildsong

11 October 2002
A Robin singing from the top of a Hawthorn Bush, on a warm afternoon that felt like spring, if it was not for the red berries. Also on the cycle path from Old Shoreham to the disused cement works at Beeding, a Pheasant crossed my path.

3 October 2002
Warm sunshine brought out he best of the vivid colour of male Clouded Yellow Butterfly, Colias croceus, on vegetated shingle at Shoreham Beach (TQ 210 044) and another at the derelict Ropetackle site (TQ 212 052). And a Common Darter Dragonfly, Sympetrum striolatum, Common Lizard and Slow Worms were seen basking amongst flotsam on the banks of the River Adur (TQ 208 058).


c. 21 September 2002
A young Sparrowhawk was observed hunting persistently but not very successfully on the east side of the River Adur on the old railway track between the Railway Viaduct and the Toll Bridge.


Slow Worm (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

Slow Worm (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

16 September 2002
There were large adult Slow Worms in the grass and hiding under rocks and debris on the east side of the River Adur near the Adur Industrial Estate (TQ 209 056).


5 September 2002
The albino (white-winged) Magpie is back again. This time I was able to place it in an ivy adorned Sycamore Tree (TQ  2112 0532) right at the southern end of the old railway track running southwards from Old Shoreham to where it stops abruptly at the demolished bridge. I first heard the bird from underneath the tree at 6:30 pm in the approach to the partially empty factory buildings on the Adur Metal Works industrial estate. A normal black and white livery Magpie flew up leaving a seagull-like albino Magpie perched in the tree. Its white breast was spotted with black lines. By the time I had taken out my camera the bird had hidden deeper amongst the ivy, unless it had flown to another tree and I could not place where the call came from. This particular Sycamore Tree is a veritable haven for wildlife, including a rich selection of insects and butterflies of many species.
The correct term is leucistic, unless the bird has also lost the pigment in its eyes. I have not altered the past entries because leucistic also refers to birds that have lost only part of their pigment. A few years ago a leucistic Redshank was a regular visitor to the lower Adur estuary, but this bird was not nearly so white.
Previous 2001 Record

1 September 2002
At this time of the year the field from the Lancing town end of New Monks Farm has been cut and accessible after a dry spell. By the bushes near Mash Barn and the horse field, I spotted my first Speckled Wood Butterfly of this year. Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies (30+) were the commonest butterfly with Cabbage Whites (species not differentiated) in equal numbers. 

21 August 2002
"It was a huge caterpillar. At the head end were two very realistic eye markings. The body was dark chocolate brown with lighter brown rings and circles. The length was around 6 cm (2½ inches) and the girth similar to the average thumb. When disturbed it either thrashed or made S shaped movements. The tail end had a short horn. I would suggest it would be a moth caterpillar. It was found on the ground close to a massive Virginia creeper vine but numerous other plants were growing nearby."
This caterpillar was discovered in a garden in West Way, south Lancing, (TQ 198 042) on alluvial soil near the coast. 

Report by Steve Barker
Investigation:
The Elephant Hawk-moths larvae display their eye spots when threatened. These seems to be the only large brown caterpillars with distinctive eye spots. There are two British species: 
Elephant Hawk-mothDeilephilia elpenor
Small Elephant Hawk-moth,  Deilephilia porcellus.

20 August 2002
The meadow by downland stream near the Steyning Road (TQ 209 068) was passable only with a struggle against the dense vegetation, grasses, Ragwort and Teasel, disturbing Common Blue Butterflies and a Meadow Brown.
On the Adur Valley cycle path north of Old Shoreham, an Emperor Dragonfly patrolled, under the Hawthorn and above the nettles, this magnificent insect unmistakable in a dark blue patterned abdomen and bright green head. 

8 August 2002
On a breezy sunny and still humid day, the butterflies on the old railway track south of the old Shoreham Toll Bridge included Painted Ladies (4+) possibly blown in from France, as well as the distinctive silhouettes of the Red Admirals (4+),a particularly bright orange of the Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies (4+), with Small Whites, Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns, all just a few. 

Small White Butterfly (Photograph by Allen Pollard)17 July 2002
On a hot muggy day, it was the White Butterflies that were noticeable, but there were Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies on Adur Recreation Ground and the towpath by the airport, likely to be more than the four seen in passing.
South Downs Butterflies
 

19 June 2002
On the Adur Levels (TQ 209 068) the Meadow Brown Butterfly had a very dark upper wing. Blue (possibly Azure) Damselflies settled on numerous different plants. A microphone would have been useful to identify the small warbler-sized birds amongst the reeds. There was a possible sighting of a Reed Bunting, but it is difficult to be sure with these small birds

4 April 2002
By midday, it was shirtsleeves weather and on the northern part of Monk's Farm between the weighbridge and the stroud there were numerous butterfly flights. When they settled they were revealed as Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma Butterflies, all nettle feeders at the caterpillar stage. At the butterfly copse, Old Shoreham, (TQ 209 063), at least one Holly Blue fluttered by the path to Mill Hill, which provided a settling place for another Small Tortoiseshell in the horse field.
Report by Andy Horton
 
11 March 2002
Usually, the stream (TQ 209 068) draining towards the Waterworks on the Adur levels is some heavily vegetated or covered in a green surface algae that viewing done into it is impossible. The stream is probably eutrophic and even in winter a brown foamy sort of algae covers most of its surface, but in places the wind has blown open stretches of water. Nothing seen moving though, not even a 3-spined Stickleback
A negative report. One Mallard overhead, joined by a partner and only a single Moorhen running across the water into the reeds. No Herons.
    Male Sparrowhawk (Photographs by Steve Huddlestone)22 January 2002
    Gliding less than a metre above the road surface, south of Cuckoo's Corner (TQ 201 064), a male Sparrowhawk flew at least 20 metres along the road before veering suddenly in the hedgerow on the right. It was identified as a male by its slate-bluish colour, and as a Sparrowhawk by its behaviour including the fanning of its tail as it swerved adeptly between the bare hedgerow branches in a way that would not be common for the Kestrel. A Kestrel, a regular sight on waste land, had spent some time gliding and hovering near Old Shoreham on the east side of the Adur, so I was able to contrast the two falcons. 

    29 December 2001
    Snow falls before dawn and a thin layer of snow covers the levels. It quickly melts in the afternoon sun.

Photograph by Allen Pollard

The River Adur at Shermanbury with a light layer of snow
Photograph by Allen Pollard

     
    5 December 2001
    Two deer, probably Roe Deer, are seen for the first time in Ricardo's Test Field (TQ 201 062) next to the A27 trunk road and east of the Sussex Pad. 
    Report by Anne White


    2 November 2001
    The most interesting insect around was a small darter dragonfly with a salmon-pink abdomen and darker brownish-red head, which was a Common Darter Dragonfly, Sympetrum striolatum.On the Adur levels (TQ 209 068) they were mating over the stream and they were frequent (25+) on the flood plain and on the towpath by the Airport. The abdomen appeared slightly bent when this dragonfly settled.
    Dragonfly Flight Times
    Dragonflies and Damselflies of Adur

    Photographs by Andy Horton30 October 2001
    Amongst the moist grasses of the Adur levels, west of the Waterworks (TQ 209 068), the large white mushrooms with a long white stalk appear to be Volvariella speciosa. The appearance of the cap varies in colour from off-white in the parasol-shaped specimens to a dirtier white almost brown in the larger specimens which were flat, and in the older-looking specimens the cap was upturned to form a shallow cup. The underside and gills vary from a light straw colour the dark brown of a commercial mushroom. The cap of the largest of seven specimens in a square metre was at least 150 mm in diameter. 
    British Fungi Discussion Forum

    This mushroom has been eaten when the mushroom was the similar Death Cap, Amanita phalloides, with fatal results.

    10 October 2001
    The albino (white-winged) Magpie has returned to the area of the old railway line between Old Shoreham and Ropetackle (TQ 211 052). I had seen on a couple of occasions in the last two years, but the view was from underneath and so fleeting that by the following day doubts had crept in and I removed the entry from the Nature Notes page. This time I could see clearly the white upper wings and the whole bird was whiter than a seagull with just a few black patches. It also perched briefly before being disturbed by a Magpie with the normal black wings.

    8 October 2001
    Another Grass Snake it slid rapidly away on the gravel path adjacent to the petrol pump storage area on the east riverbank near Adur Metalworks (TQ 211 052). There was farther for the snake to travel before it reached any sort of cover and I could see its darker  triangular head off the ground, the first time I had see this in a Grass Snake. This one was smaller than the last, olive-green with black markings, less than a metre long, as it slithered through the short grass and disappeared. There was still no fresh water obviously nearby. I have not seen any frogs in the area.
    Previous Snake Report

    There must still be fish in the river on this fine afternoon as there was a Little Egret and at least 12 Cormorants diving under the water or fanning their wings on the rising river near the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham. Lapwings (50+) plus gulls and Dunlins were as usual.

    Red Admiral Butterflies (75+) were everywhere on the unofficial countryside, near ivy bushes, and on waste ground. A solitary Comma on the uphill path from the Waterworks Road was the deep orange variety, these colours may be indicative of the second brood. Twittering Greenfinches in the ivy disturbed flights of Red Admirals.

    Near the Waterworks itself, not one but two Roe Deer jumped out from the undergrowth (TQ 209 068). 
    Previous Deer Report
    The dragonflies were absent but there were small butterflies on the wing. When one settled on a grass, it was clearly identified as the Small Copper. Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars still covered a few nettle plants (see the earlier record). 
    Fungus, possibly Volvariella speciosa, hidden amongst the grasses (Photograph by Andy Horton)There were a few fungi hidden amongst the grasses.
    Malcolm Storey (BioImages) suggested this is most likely to be Volvariella speciosa.
    Exterior link to a comparable fungus image
    Another link to an image of Volvariella speciosa

    Amongst the Hawthorns, scores of an unseen bird were making a tremendous amount of song. I thought I saw a little brown-grey bird with a flash of white. After thought, I suspect these are new immigrant flocks of House Sparrows.

    3 October 2001
    On the Adur Levels next to the Steyning Road (TQ 209 068) there were scores (20+) of medium-sized blue-patterned dragonflies hawking between the reeds and waterside vegetation by the stream. It was difficult to get close enough to identify these colourful insects, but they were smaller than the Emperor Dragonfly, Anax imperator, (which may have been mistaken for these in the past). Unlike the Emperor, they never seemed to settle, and they remained at two metres above the stream for most of the time, but they were rapid flyers and chased each other over the reeds on occasions. Some of them, if not all, had an abdomen tinged with brown. The thorax was brown and not marked with green. My identification of these is the Migrant Hawker, Aeshna mixta.
    There were other (12+) smaller brown-red dragonflies around as well, probably including Common Darters, Sympetrum striolatum, but others seemed smaller.
    Biology of the Migrant Hawker
    British Dragonfly Society Species Checklist
    Freshwater Life of North-western Europe Smart Group

    Six Mallards ascended in unison.
    Tortoiseshell Caterpillars on Stinging Nettle (Photograph by Andy Horton) Click to see a large imageAbout a hundred black caterpillars covered the leaves of a couple of low growing Stinging Nettle plants (TQ 209 068). These are the caterpillars of the Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly. There are the beginnings of a silk web over the top of the nettle leaves.
    What is the Caterpillar web page
    Small Tortoishell Life Cycle

    28 September 2001
    In the Adur valley there was a solitary Meadow Brown Butterfly in the damp meadow (TQ 209 068).
    Adur Butterfly Page

    Photograph by Andy Horton

    14 September 2001
    A great of commotion greeted my presence in a private wild field (TQ 209 068) near Shoreham Waterworks, but I was still surprised when a young Roe Deer suddenly jumped out of some dead undergrowth just over a metre high and veered towards me passing just three metres away before running off rapidly towards the road. It stopped at camera distance for a telephoto lens (but the close-up lens was attached) and looked over its left shoulder like a doe. A few minutes later I saw a pair of deer looking like a parent and youngster in the distance in a field under Mill Hill.
    Commotion is quite common in this area which is a refuge from the normal human passage, although less than 50 metres from the main Steyning road. From the deep stream Moorhens make a lot of noise as they skitter into the reeds. Mallards ascend almost vertically and a Grey Heron circled but did not land. 

    Small Tortoiseshell (Photograph by Andy Horton)The entrance to this field is covered in with a large array of a yellow flower particularly attractive to butterflies. And on this day with the sun occasionally breaches the clouds, there were at least a couple of the colourful Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies fluttering between the flowers, rarely remaining still long enough for a photograph. 

    Despite being next to a deep stream, almost stationary as it weaved its way through the flood plain, there were relatively few dragonflies, only one on the day, with a bright red abdomen, and probably a Common Darter, Sympetrum striolatum.
    There were still Red Admiral and both species of White Butterfly around. Also, surprisingly, the first Common Wasps I had seen anywhere this year. 

    Common Darter (Photograph by Andy Horton)Adur Butterfly Page
    Butterfly Guide
    British Dragonfly Society Species Checklist
    Dragonflies and Damselflies of Adur

    4 September 2001
    The first signs of autumn are apparent as birds in the Adur valley are on the move. On an overcast day the obvious example was influx of black and white birds slightly larger than a sparrow in the hedgerows (TQ 205 073) on the Beeding cycle path
    On these pages I have neglected the local freshwater habitats because of flooding and overgrown vegetation has made the routes difficult or impassable. However, every autumn the waterside vegetation is cut down and the route over private land in the streams I visited as a child were accessible between the Steyning road (A 283) just north of the Flyover and the Waterworks Road. However, the route does not connect up nowadays so the access is over a gate from the Steyning Road (TQ 208 068) to Spring Dyke and Miller's Stream..
    Resident Moorhens make an awful lot of commotion as they run across the water at the first inking of danger, or show off their white rear ends as they scuttle amongst the reeds. A Grey Heron and three Mallards shoot rapidly skywards and fly off rapidly, the ducks quicker than the lumbering Heron.
    The resident grasshopper was the Meadow Grasshopper, Chorthippus parallelus.
    After five days of rain, everywhere the Small White Butterflies were common everywhere, but on this waterside area there were Red Admirals (5+), a Small Tortoiseshell (one) and a smaller than normal Meadow Brown (2) with the orange wing upperside of the female strongly veined with black.

    29 August 2001
    The first Humming Bird Hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum, of this year buzzed around the Buddleia bushes on the path to the Waterworks Road  After the rain shower, there were no butterflies or dragonflies, only a Brimstone Moth. The Grey Herons had left the meadows to feed at the low tide neaps on the River Adur north of the fly-over. Under the Railway Viaduct, tiny Common Goby fry, Pomatoschistus sp., were present in their thousands amongst the small clumps of Irish Moss, (a seaweed) Chondrus crispus. These fish would be too small (20 mm) and quick to excite the interest of even the Black-headed Gulls. On 31 August 2001, a further Humming Bird Hawk-Moth was seen on the cyclepath between the disused Cement Works and Old Shoreham.

    28 August 2001
    The small brown dragonfly on the path to the Waterworks Road at the steps down in the south-west corner (TQ 209 063) was noted because of its dark green head, and a red fringe on one wing and black on the other pair of wings. It was probably a Common Darter Dragonfly, Sympetrum striolatum.
    A faded (dull coloured) Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly settled briefly, as did a Speckled Wood and a handful of Red Admirals

    Holly Blue Butterfly (Photograph by Andy Horton)15 August 2001
    I retraced the route of yesterday, hoping eventually to get photographs of the blue butterflies. It was more hazy and overcast than the day before, but despite that many varieties of butterfly were frequent: Red Admiral, Peacock, Painted Lady Butterflies, Small Whites and Holly Blue Butterflies all in numbers in excess of 20. On the towpath between Ropetackle and the Toll Bridge at Old Shoreham, Wall Browns were not seen but there was at least one Gatekeeper.
    On the footpath from the Waterworks Road (southern end) to (TQ 209 063) to Mill Hill, the usual butterflies above were accompanied by a single Speckled Wood (in the shaded bit) and a solitary Comma Butterfly in the open, the latter a light orange rather than a deep rich orange. There are lots of Stinging Nettles in this area.
    A Common Darter Dragonfly settled.
    Adur Butterfly Page

    14 August 2001
    On the footpath from the Waterworks Road (southern end) to (TQ 209 063) to Mill Hill, Red Admiral and Peacock Butterflies and Small Whites refused to settle. 
    A large brown cricket or grasshopper was also seen here. It only had a limited jumping ability and it is probably the Dark Bush Cricket, Pholidoptera griseoaptera.  (pic)
    A large Hoverfly, Volucella zonaria, settled briefly. 

    10 August 2001
    On an overcast day after several days of rain, the commonest butterfly on the Old Shoreham Adur Valley path were the frequent Red Admirals, but there were a few Peacocks Butterflies around. A Emperor Dragonfly at close quarters (the bulge-like bit at the front of the abdomen was distinctive) was impressive, before it settled eventually on a Bramble Bush. 
    There were still hundreds of Marmalade Hoverflies, Episyrphus balteatus, feeding on nectar in gardens and in the overgrown countryside. 


    Volucella zonaria  (Photograph by Andy Horton)6 August 2001
    A large nectar-feeding hoverfly settled on the Buddleia bush in a garden in West Way, Lancing, (TQ 198 042) that is near the marshy land between Shoreham Airport and Lancing. The species was not positively identified and this is always tricky as there are at least 250 species of hoverfly found in northern Europe. It was a large species at about 14 mm long. Bill Irwin identified this species as Volucella zonaria.

    Report by Steve Barker
    Hoverflies Comment
    Hoverflies of the UK
    Hoverflies (Syrphidae), tribe Volucellini
    Volucella zonaria

    A Red Admiral Butterfly was also feeding on this breezy (Force 5) day.

    Report by Steve Barker


    30 July 2001
    A medium-sized brown dragonfly was recorded on the path to the Waterworks Road at the steps down in the south-west corner (TQ 209 063), and it was distinguished by two large green splotches on the side of its thorax. These markings meant I first thought it was a Southern Hawker, Aeshna cyanea, but subsequent observations seem to indicate it was probably a Common Darter, Sympetrum striolatum.
    Shermanbury (Adur Valley) Wildlife Photographs

    28 July 2001
    From the south end of the Waterworks Road, south of the A27 Flyover an overgrown  footpath climbs towards the north end of the Street, Old Shoreham (right at the field) or on a narrow incline towards Mill Hill (left at the field). This route is marked by a large Buddleia bush, nettles and holly (TQ 209 063), and because of its position between town, flood plain with streams and downs, it was on this scorching humid day, particularly rich in butterfly and other insect fauna. The butterfly count was Cabbage Whites (Large or  Small) (10+), Red Admiral (10+), Peacock (2+), Meadow Browns  (10+) and Holly Blues (7+). All the Holly Blues were a very pale blue on the underside and covered with numerous black dots, unlike some of the Holly Blues at Lancing Ring, which had a sky blue underside and only four black dots.

    One large dragonfly zoomed in at a height of 3 metres (just below the highest bush-like trees), with the size and characteristics of the Emperor Dragonfly*, but it actually looked a bulkier and more powerful insect with its green or blue abdomen lined strongly in black. There was smaller (medium-sized) brown-coloured dragonfly as well, which was more sedentary, but it still would not stay still enough for me to get a close look at it. (*This may have been a Southern Hawker.)
    (This is most likely to be the Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum.) A dragonfly was seen at the same place on 14 August 2001, and it had a green head and brown abdomen.

    British Dragonfly Society

    24 July 2001
    57 adult Mute Swans congregated on the River Adur adjacent to Shoreham Airport on the flood spring tide but no sign of the Little Egret reported in the Sussex Ornithological Society News. There was a dead Mute Swan on the east towpath midway between the A27 Flyover and the disused cement works, where a small group of five Canada Geese swam leisurely away, I thought at first they were going to swim towards me, so they were probably tame. AMoorhen was seen by the Ladywell Stream from the Coombes Road. (TQ 198 070).
    Gatekeeper Butterflies were common everywhere and on the Downs link cyclepath north of Botolphs (TQ 194 095), there were over 100 in the hedgerow adjacent to the path next to the set-aside land covered in wild plants (weeds). Many of the Gatekeepers had a double black surround on the underside, but only one white dot was present on many occasions (could these ones be Small Heaths?). Both species of Whites (100+), Painted Lady (one), Red Admiral (20+) were noticed on he Adur flood plain.. 
    Adur Valley Butterflies

    16 July 2001
    Butterflies on the cyclepath from Old Shoreham to Beeding in the first stretch from the south included a solitary Comma that paused to settle on a purple Buddleia flower and tens of Small Skippers, (TQ 205 075), Small Whites and Large Whites, the size difference was noticeable, and a few Red Admirals.
    Adur Valley Butterflies (Link)

    TheHeron is a common site in the fields, mudflats and by the side of the river, and because the low neap tide, only one channel of the river flowed under the Toll Bridge, and any small fish would have been easy pickings for this large bird in the shallows. 

    Gatekeeper Butterfly on Mill Hill (Photograph by Andy Horton)15 July 2001
    A handful of small Gatekeeper Butterflies fluttered around the Blackthorn (Sloe) bushes (TQ 207 055) and other scrub around the towpath on the eastern of perimeter of Shoreham Airport.
    Battered Gatekeeper (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

    4 July 2001
    A Great Spotted Woodpecker was spotted on the Coombes road between Cuckoo's Corner and the Ladywell Stream, in a tree at the bottom of the private path leading to Lancing College (TQ 200 069).
    Pyramidal Orchids were in flower on the path adjacent to the A27 by-pass opposite the Sussex Pad between the Airport Road and the Withy Patch.

    5 June 2001
    I made a brief visit to the Waterworks Road. There was nothing much there apart from the millions of stinging nettles. But I was surprised to see a Moorhen in the narrow stream, surprised because of the vicinity of the Vixen and her cubs.

    3 June 2001
    A Fox,vixen with 3 cubs was seen from a distance of 200 metres on the Waterworks Road, on the flood plain below Mill Hill. Footpaths lead down to this private road from the top of the Street in Old Shoreham and from the bridge over the flyover leading to Mill Hill, but these paths are narrow and overgrown.

    Walking on wooded land close to the base of Mill Hill near the River Adur, we saw what appeared to be a large black to iridescent dark blue butterfly. It seemed to be larger than a Painted Lady for example.  It flew in a slow fluttering movement and was about 60 cm (2 ft) from the ground as we saw it. I could not follow its path. A local resident confirmed that it had been seen previously.

    Experienced lepidopterists have pointed out that it is most likely to be a Beautiful Demoiselle,Calopteryx virgo, a damselfly. The Sussex branch of the Butterfly Conservation Society confirmed that Beautiful Demoiselle damselflies had been confirmed breeding on the bird reserve near the Waterworks on the Adur flood plain, just north of Old Shoreham. 
    UK Dragonflies Discussion Group
    Beautiful Damselfly Images
     

    Demoiselle Reports by Ray Hamblett


    Peacock Butterfly (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)18 May 2001 
    Taking advantage of the newly re-opened (after the Foot and Mouth disease restrictions) cycleway from Old Shoreham to Beeding, the adjacent towpath was covered in a fine mat of grass. A Kingfisher flew straight as a dart with something large and white in its beak, and a Peacock Butterfly settled on the grasses, notable as my personal first note of this butterfly on these pages. Other butterflies fluttered amongst the nettles.
    In the field opposite the Cement Works, on the western side of the Adur including the towpath, both cows and sheep grazed.
     
     
     


    Freshwater Life
    of North-western Europe
    EFORUM PAGE

    15 November 2000

    Cuckoo's Corner is a lay-by a half mile so down the Coombes Road from the A27 turn off for Lancing College and the Sussex Pad. It has a collection of old trees which provide a magnet for birds. A flock of about 50 Long-tailed Tits were singing in the lower branches of the ivy adorned 12 metre + high trees. This bird is not a titmouse at all and is appreciably  smaller than a Pied Wagtail, they actually looked much smaller (apart from the long tail) than the Wrens which all shared the branches, and there was a Chaffinch in the understorey of evergreen vegetation. 
    The floods had receded considerably apart from large puddle in the Ricardo Test Bed field.

    Clouded Yellow Butterfly (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

    20 August 2000
    The immigrant Clouded Yellow Butterflies are now common (100+) near Shoreham Airport, with one every 6 square metres near the perimeter road (TQ 206 056) on the east side. The grass outfields are a rich tapestry of mainly Red Clover, Trifolium pratense. (Note: Zigzag Clover is a very similar plant and may also be present) and Bird's Foot Trefoil (Bacon & Eggs), Lotus corniculatus.

    Report by Ray Hamblett
    Butterflies of Adur (with scientific names)
    ACFOR system of abundance

    30 June 2000
    Plenty of Pyramidal Orchids were easily spotted on the cycle route from Old Shoreham to Bramber and on the roadside verges. Meadow Brown and Red Admiral Butterflies flitted amongst the variety of wild plants with the occasional Clouded Yellow.
    Information & Photographs link (Ray Hamblett's site).
    British Orchid Information (Really Wild Flowers)
    ORCHID SLIDE SHOW  (photographs by Ray Hamblett)
     
     

    The area known as the Saltings was salt marsh up to medieval times, and marsh until the twentieth century. Parts are still liable to flooding. 
    Scurvy Bank Link

    This area can be reached from Shoreham-by-Sea railway station following the yellow route on the Map. Towpaths on both sides of the river take the walker to the town of Bramber. 



    Water Voles, Arvicola terrestris, were living in and around the streams on the western side of the Adur, centred on New Monks Farm, Lancing. American Mink have also been seen on the western side of the river. Also both predators Stoats and Foxes have increased since the increase in Rabbit numbers. Herons, which prey on Water Voles, have also increased and a small part of the vole habitat has also disappeared. There are still small streams, which dried up in large parts during the dry summers of 1996 and 1997.
    Grass Snakes, Natrix natrix, are also present as well as numerous Slow Worms,  and Common Frogs. Frogs have enjoyed a couple of bad years (1996 & 1997), because their streams dried up before the tadpoles metamorphosed, and because of a viral disease that killed huge numbers. Common Lizards can also be discovered under logs etc.

    Sheep were grazing on the flood plains (main field in the photograph) for the first time in my memory (January 1999).

    Photograph by Andy Horton

    Photograph by Andy Horton

    Moorhens and Mallards are common residents with visiting Herons.
    Damselflies and Dragonflies can be seen hawking and darting over the water. 

    A few small Reed Beds occur within and just outside the town boundaries of Lancing, Shoreham and Coombes (i.e. within the Adur District and other areas maybe under the auspices of Horsham Council), with managed streams supporting Frogs and Moorhens and predatory Herons regularly fly in on feeding visits throughout the year.. The Grey Wagtail is increasing in numbers but still a notable sight. It has never been common here at least from the 1960s. Willow trees colonise the stream banks. Pheasants are occasionally seen in the fields to the north of the Waterworks.

    Shrews, Sorex araneus, scuttle quickly across the cycle path from Old Shoreham to Bramber.

    On the west side of a river, the country road from the Sussex Pad to Coombes,  Botolphs, Annington and Bramber Castle, marks the boundary between the flood plain and the downs. Up to 25 years ago, Elms made a canopy over parts of the road so that was like a dark tunnel in the day. Dutch Elm Disease (fungus Certocystis ulmi, spread by the Elm Bark Beetle, Scolytus ulmi) and the Great Storm of 1987 decimated these trees. In those days of old, Treecreepers scuttled up the trees, but I have not seen them recently.
    Cycle Routes

    Cuckoos regularly fly over Cuckoo's Corner. The casual visitor is unlikely to see them though.

    Field Maple occurs bordering the Coombes Road, and at the foot of Mill Hill.

    British Dragonfly Society
    Dragonflies and Damselflies of Adur

     
    Butterflies in the lower Adur valley levels:
     
     Small Tortoiseshell  Aglais urticae
     Orange Tip  Anthocharis cardamines
     Holly Blue  Celastrina argiolus
     Clouded Yellow  Colias croceus
     Brimstone  Gonepteryx rhamni
     Peacock  Inachis io
     Chalkhill Blue  Polyommatus coridon
     Meadow Brown  Maniola jurtina
     Small White  Pieris rapae
     Large White  Pieris brassicae
     Comma  Polygonia c-album
     Common Blue  Polyommatus icarus
     Gatekeeper  Pyronia tithonus
     Red Admiral  Vanessa atalanta
     Painted Lady  Vanessa cardui
     Large Skipper  Ochlodes venata
     Small Skipper  Thymelicus sylvestris
     Wall Brown  Lasiommata megera

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