Cuckoo's Corner to Coombes
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
to Bramber, with the passage passable for bicycles,
if you can put up with lifting your bicycle over a few stiles.
Adur flood plain
Picture: View from Mill Hill over towards Lancing
Over: Stream near the Waterworks
alluvian soil, brought down from the river sources in the Weald. The bank
of part of the river is chalk.
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.
ON THIS TEXT FOR THE WILDLIFE REPORTS 2004 ET SEQ.
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.
tree just off the Waterworks Road was covered
in clumps of the distinctive Jew's Ear Fungus, Hirneola auricola-judae.
of Shoreham (with more images)
trees were mostly bare except for the
keys and the galls in the Silver
the sombre winter landscape, the bright yellow belly of a Yellowhammer
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.
the eastern side of the road a pair of Grey
Herons took off on my approach. The usual
were not seen or heard in the afternoon.
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.
laccata has thicker, more distant and more irregular gills and
has been uncommon this year.)
the foot of a Hawthorn Tree there was a clump of Coprinus mushrooms.
These look like Glistening Inkcap,
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.
of Shoreham (with more images)
Field next to the stream between the Steyning Road and the Waterworks
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.
in the photograph was killed on the busy A27 road by the Sussex Pad where
fatalities have occurred before.
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
suspicion is that the bush in the foreground was deliberately planted on
the Lancing College (west) side of the road opposite Cuckoo's Corner
bush has been identified as the Snowberry,
albus, a native American plant introduced to Britain in 1817. ID
dusk drew in, the estimated count of Lapwings
flying south over the River Adur near Cuckoo's
Corner (on the Coombes Road) was 300.
were also two fleeting glimpses of hawks, the first flying along the Coombes
Road by Cuckoo's Corner was probably a female
second one, a couple of minutes later as the light faded, looked like a
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
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.
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
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
Admiral Butterfly fluttered over the path
by horse's field on the south-west approaches of Mill
Hill, (south of the A27 main road).
Butterflies Flight Times
Australian Black Swans, Cygnus atratus,
the Swiss Cottage Lake, Shoreham-by-Sea.
were accompanied by Mallards.
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.
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.
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
the stubble field to the east of Applesham Farm (south of Coombes) and
a young Roe
trees are again beginning to form a dark canopy on the approach road to
Coombes from Shoreham.
from the Adur Recreation Ground and the Coombes Road
black spot on the Sycamore is the Tar
Spot fungus, Rhytisma acerina.
small larva is that of an aphidivorous
by Malcolm Storey,
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.
were a score or more each of both Crows
Pigeons in the tree tops and they made
an appreciable amount of noise as they left their perches.
of Autumn Trees near Shoreham
Planting at Lancing College
Leaves of the Adur Estuarine Margins (Scanned Image)
Leaves of the Adur Estuarine Margins (CD-ROM only)
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.
colours looking north-east from the Steyning Road,
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).
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.
birdwatcher reported that a Roe Deer was
recently found dead on the Steyning Road.
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).
Grasshoppers and Crickets (Yahoo Group)
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.
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.
in the clump of trees surrounding
of Claysfield Farm and pond (open space)
Levels: Beeding, Botolphs, Bramber and the north (web page)
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
striolatum, were widespread, some
brown and a handful were bright red males.
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.
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.
saw a Speckled Wood
and a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly.
Someone in the group saw a Kingfisher."
the footpath from the Waterworks Road to Mill Hill,
about 25 Common Darter Dragonflies,
striolatum, and at least one
mixta, were seen in the early
least two Red
Admiral Butterflies fluttered
around, although there was hardly any Buddleia
flower. A Kestrel
over the Waterworks.
and two Water Rails,
aquaticus, were seen near Cuckoo's
Corner, on the Coombes Road. This is assumed to be by the freshwater
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.)
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.
appeared to be a large brightly coloured greenish-yellow bird*
in an open field (The Circus Field) by the Steyning Road north of Old Shoreham,
and was almost certainly a
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
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.
least a dozen Common Darter
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
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
Hawker Dragonfly, Aeshna
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.
Report (including Butterflies)
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
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)
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.
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
in flower with at least a couple of now faded Painted
Lady Butterflies and some (5+) strong
flying Red Admirals.
field next to the stream by the Steyning Road
(TQ 209 068) was still impenetrable after
100 metres because of the Creeping Thistles,
there was also Creeping Cinquefoil (? close
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
Darter on the cyclepath
south of the Cement Works.
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
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
Nature Gallery (by Ray Hamblett)
4 September 2003
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.
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.
may have been a Southern Hawkers.)
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.
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
Carder (Bumble) Bee,
pascuorum, in the butterfly
(TQ 209 063) near
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
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
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
urban and wasteland, and part downs flora
and fauna, and this also applies to the adjacent A27
may have been a Southern Hawker.)
White Butterfly favoured brief nectaring
on the Willowherb,
Mint and other plants. There are two of
butterflies confirmed settling simultaneously
and probably a few more in the narrow field next to
the stream by the Steyning Road (TQ 209
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
settled on a Bramble,
and even these butterflies may only be exiguously on record because
they have been overlooked before.
Dragonfly* patrolled the tops of the cyclepath
bushes, that were virtually trees. (*This
may have been a Southern Hawker.)
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
may have been a Southern Hawker.)
of Dragonfly Predation on Butterflies (UK Dragonflies)
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
Butterfly was first seen yesterday.
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
Tortoiseshell Butterflies, one
Whites and the usual Gatekeepers
and Meadow Browns.
copse (TQ 209 063) near
the Waterworks Road
added Red Admirals,
a Peacock Butterfly,
and the first settled Holly Blue
of the second brood this year. The path to Mill
added a Small White
and another Large Skipper.
There were two species of hoverflies including
the abundant Marmalade Hoverfly,
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.
was thirteen species of butterfly on a small
through the thistles in the field next to the
stream by the Steyning Road (TQ 209 068),
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
Darter Dragonflies were on the wing, although
I only noted one.
the cycle path north of the Toll Bridge,
the immigrant butterflies were most noticeable: Red
Ladies and the reddish
List (Species Recorded)
to the recent heatwave, the day was overcast, pleasantly cool and breezy.
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.
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
(now looking slightly worn), a single Holly
Blue and I also discovered a Peacock
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
List (Full Report)
and Peacock Butterfly
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
Darter was over the thistle-covered
field by the Steyning Road.
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.
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.
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
nettles in the copse (TQ 209 063) near the Waterworks
Road attracted Red Admirals
(5+) and a Comma Butterfly. Large
Whites, Meadow Browns and
in flight over wasteland and around allotments.
Whites (50+), Meadow
Browns (50+) and Gatekeeper
were everywhere from Ropetackle (Shoreham-by-Sea), north along the cyclepath
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.
butterfly amongst the ferns. Click on the image to identify it.
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.
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.
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.)
Butterfly settled and one almost certainly
Brown Butterflies were seen amongst vegetation
the cyclepath on
the east side of Adur from Old Shoreham northwards.
had a brief glimpse of a Yellowhammer that
flew over the butterfly copse (TQ 209 063) seemed
to indicate it was probably nesting nearby.
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
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.
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.
dragonflies or damselflies appeared.
Butterflies of Shoreham
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.
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.
fluttered in the hot sun with a large handful of Small
Admirals and Meadow
Browns, plus more than one Small
Tortoiseshell. North of Cuckoo's Corner,
strutted in the road, and scuttled into the heavy roadside undergrowth
at my approach.
New Monk's Farm, Lancing there were over a hundred small-sized
Small included) seen, plus a handful
of Meadow Brown Butterflies
and just a single Small Copper Butterfly
feeding on Ragwort.
Hamblett's south Lancing garden, (TQ 186
044), the butterfly count included a Common
Blue and a Comma.
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.
was at least 230 cm high. On 18
July 2003 this garden also produced a Peacock
the cycle path from Old Shoreham Toll
Bridge south to Ropetackle (TQ 210 054)
least two each of the following butterflies were seen: Small
Lady, and at least one Red
Admiral and one Small
Skipper antennae (image)
were developing their purple flowers.
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
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
it was dragonflies that I made the visit for.
There was my first (female) Common
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.
a humid and overcast day, about a hundred Pyramid
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
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.
(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.
the common House Sparrow
flocks on the waste ground at the eastern end of the Toll
Bridge, Old Shoreham, I spotted a Lesser
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
It could just have likely been a Common Whitethroat,
these small birds are usually hiding in a bush.)
New Monks Farm, Lancing (west of Shoreham Airport) an out of flight season
Butterfly in good condition settled south
of the Withy Patch.
were Pyramid Orchids, Anacamptis
pyramidalis, in the grass between
Shoreham Airport and the A27 near the Sussex Pad traffic lights.
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
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,
amongst the Azure
observations were made of one Large Skipper,
a handful of
Meadow Brown Butterflies
and a few Small Tortoiseshells.
I disturbed a resting
and one Poplar Hawk-moth.
field next to the stream (TQ 209 068) to
the west of the Waterworks (Old Shoreham) was like a jungle with thistles
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
on the images of the damselflies for a closer look of the Azure Damselflies.
Damselflies & Dragonflies
List of Dragonfly Sites (left hand column)
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
the cycle path under
the A27 flyover, Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies
more numerous (25+) with an occasional
Lady Butterfly, more colourful than the
drab specimens seen before.
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.
large clump of Viper's Bugloss
is in bloom at the eastern end of the Foot
Bridge where the cycle
path to Bramber starts.
(Adur Valley) Wildlife Photographs
Damselflies are fluttering in my Shermanbury
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
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
fuchsii. Cups of water from the overnight rain were retained in
the lower leaves of the Teasel.
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.
Bird's Foot Trefoil had a solid stem which means it is Lotus corniculatus,
uliginosa has a hollow stem. (This can be confused by larger continental
species planted by landscape gardeners.)
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.
coloured Painted Lady Butterflies had
just immigrated and they were
common, in ones and twos on the levels, but many more on the downs.
Coombes Brianne Reeve
reported a dozen Painted Lady Butterflies
on a single bush.
are small (350+) populations of Water Voles near
Pagham in West Sussex.
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.
Lizard skittered across the towpath the
runs along the eastern boundary with the River Adur estuary.
This was at the Railway Viaduct end.
Daisy and Bird's
Foot Trefoil are just two plants now in
flower on the eastern riverbank north of the Railway
on a Willow (or Withy) Tree in the Withy Patch
damp northern border to New Monks Farm (including the Withy Patch) are
colonised by Willows, Hawthorn, Sycamore and Ash Trees.
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
mycophile du Condroz (web pages with photographs)
were small clumps of Horseshoe Vetch
in the cutting where the A27 by-pass cuts its way through Mill
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
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.
the Adur Levels (TQ
209 068) to the west of the Waterworks (Old
Shoreham) no damselflies or dragonflies
was little movement at all, the inevitable Moorhens
in the reeds and Yellow Flag,
a Blackbird and
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
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.
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
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).
overwhelming consensus on UK
Birdnet and the Sussex
Birds Yahoo Group, as well as other local
reports, is that these birds are Linnets
(click on this text for an image)
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.
drainage ditch running north from Cuckoo's Corner was choked with floating
weeds or algae. Scores of Small Tortoiseshell
faded, fluttered over the grasses and plants by the stream's edge. Small
Tortoiseshell Butterflies were also present
on New Monk's Farm, Lancing.
of Applesham Farm near the junction with the Coombes road, a Skylark
rose from behind the clipped hedge and sang.
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.
Frog was discovered in my Lancing garden
(TQ 186 044) with
all the symptoms of the Red Leg Disease.
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.
Leg Disease Fact Sheet
of Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies fluttered
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.
Smock or Cuckoo Flower, Cardamine pratensis,
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.
is the name I have heard used locally.)
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.
by Ray Hamblett
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.
Speckled Wood Butterflies
were spotted behind Steyning in the Adur valley.
Adur East (Shermanbury area) Nature Pages
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
lapidarius was also seen. Clumps of Cowslip,
veris, were in flower.
poked his long head above the grass to the call in the fields next to the
path north of Old Shoreham. It did not fly away but crouched down so
it was almost invisible.
Short Eared Owl was seen twice in the
early evening over New Monks Farm, Lancing.
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
Purslane at low tide.
of Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies and
Bumblebees were around the fringes of
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
newly born lambs (with blue tags in
their ears) in the fields adjoining the road
near Church Farm, Coombes.
bumblebee on the railway path near the Toll
Bridge, Old Shoreham, was striped
orange and black.
This was the Buff-tailed Bumblebee,
terrestris, which is the commonest
species locally. The white tail is usually very clear with this species.
(The White-tailed Bumblebee,
locurum is similar but smaller.)
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
seen near shelter in the valley, but only about six of these butterflies
were flying strongly and not settling.
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.
3:30 pm a single
Swallow flew up the Adur
then low across the Shoreham Airport heading
north west. A real early bird?
Report from Withy Patch
Patch (TQ 193 057)
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
Owl which I had seen there before.
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.
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
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.
slight doubts crept in that on this occasion in could have been a Great
I eventually rejected the sighting as unlikely.
of the Willow Tit (second call heard)
Tit call (can sound a bit like that of the Willow Tit)
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?)
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).
for Willow Tits
near the Withy Patch (TQ 192 057),
Lancing, alas, there was only a couple of Blue
Tits at Withy Patch 2002
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
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.
noted that the Meadow
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.
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.
British Larks, Pipits and Wagtails (by Eric Simms NN 1992).
it was high tide the hundreds of Lapwings
were on the airport grass.
pm a farmer and his dog flushed four Snipe
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.
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.
I eventually rejected the sighting as unlikely.
Ornithological Society Titmice
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.
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,
and Slow Worms
were seen basking amongst flotsam on the banks of the River Adur (TQ
21 September 2002
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.
Worm (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)
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
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.
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.
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.
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."
caterpillar was discovered in
a garden in West Way, south Lancing, (TQ
198 042) on alluvial soil near the coast.
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:
Hawk-moth, Deilephilia elpenor
Elephant Hawk-moth, Deilephilia porcellus.
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
Blue Butterflies and a Meadow
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.
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
and Meadow Browns,
all just a few.
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.
the Adur Levels (TQ 209 068) the
Meadow Brown Butterfly had a very dark
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.
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
Tortoiseshell and Comma
Butterflies, all nettle feeders at the
caterpillar stage. At the butterfly copse, Old Shoreham, (TQ
209 063), at least one
fluttered by the path to Mill Hill, which provided
a settling place for another Small Tortoiseshell
in the horse field.
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
negative report. One Mallard
overhead, joined by a partner and only a single Moorhen
running across the water into the reeds. No Herons.
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.
falls before dawn and a thin layer of snow covers the levels. It quickly
melts in the afternoon sun.
River Adur at Shermanbury
with a light layer of snow
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.
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.
and Damselflies of Adur
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
Fungi Discussion Forum
mushroom has been eaten when the mushroom was the similar Death
phalloides, with fatal results.
(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.
Grass Snake it slid rapidly away on the gravel path adjacent to
the petrol pump storage area on the east riverbank near Adur Metalworks
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.
must still be fish in the river on this fine afternoon as there was a Little
Egret and at least 12 Cormorants
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.
Admiral Butterflies (75+) were everywhere
on the unofficial countryside, near ivy bushes, and on waste ground. A
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.
the Waterworks itself, not one but two Roe
Deer jumped out from the undergrowth (TQ
dragonflies were absent but there were small butterflies on the wing. When
one settled on a grass, it was clearly identified as the Small
Tortoiseshell caterpillars still covered a
few nettle plants (see the earlier record).
were a few fungi hidden
amongst the grasses.
Storey (BioImages) suggested
this is most likely to be Volvariella
link to a comparable fungus image
link to an image of Volvariella speciosa
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
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.
were other (12+) smaller brown-red dragonflies around as well, probably
including Common Darters,
striolatum, but others seemed smaller.
of the Migrant Hawker
Dragonfly Society Species Checklist
Life of North-western Europe Smart Group
ascended in unison.
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
Tortoiseshell Butterfly. There are the beginnings
of a silk web over the top of the nettle leaves.
is the Caterpillar web page
Tortoishell Life Cycle
the Adur valley there was a solitary Meadow
Brown Butterfly in the damp meadow (TQ
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
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
a lot of noise as they skitter into the reeds. Mallards ascend almost vertically
and a Grey Heron circled but did not land.
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.
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.
were still Red Admiral and
both species of White Butterfly
around. Also, surprisingly, the first Common
Wasps I had seen anywhere this year.
Dragonfly Society Species Checklist
and Damselflies of Adur
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
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
Dyke and Miller's Stream..
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
rapidly skywards and fly off rapidly, the ducks quicker than the lumbering
resident grasshopper was the Meadow Grasshopper, Chorthippus
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.
Bird Hawk-moth, Macroglossum
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.
small brown dragonfly on
the path to the Waterworks Road at the steps down in the south-west corner
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.
faded (dull coloured) Small Tortoiseshell
Butterfly settled briefly, as did a Speckled
Wood and a handful of Red
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,
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.
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
Butterfly in the open, the latter a light orange rather than a deep
rich orange. There are lots of Stinging Nettles
in this area.
Darter Dragonfly settled.
the footpath from the Waterworks Road (southern end) to (TQ
209 063) to Mill Hill,
Butterflies and Small
Whites refused to settle.
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)
large Hoverfly, Volucella zonaria,
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.
were still hundreds of Marmalade
balteatus, feeding on nectar in gardens and in the overgrown countryside.
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
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
of the UK
(Syrphidae), tribe Volucellini
Admiral Butterfly was also feeding on
this breezy (Force 5) day.
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,
cyanea, but subsequent observations seem to indicate it was probably
a Common Darter,
(Adur Valley) Wildlife Photographs
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
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
Blues at Lancing Ring, which had a sky blue underside and only four
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
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
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).
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..
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,
Whites and Large
Whites, the size difference was noticeable,
and a few Red Admirals.
Valley Butterflies (Link)
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.
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
Gatekeeper (Photograph by Ray
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).
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.
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.
a 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
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
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.
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.
Dragonflies Discussion Group
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.
the field opposite the Cement Works, on the western side of the Adur
including the towpath, both cows and sheep grazed.
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
all shared the branches, and there was a Chaffinch
in the understorey of evergreen vegetation.
floods had receded considerably apart from large puddle in the Ricardo
Test Bed field.
of Adur (with scientific names)
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.
system of abundance
Orchids were easily spotted on the cycle
route from Old Shoreham to Bramber and on the roadside verges. Meadow
Admiral Butterflies flitted amongst the
variety of wild plants with the occasional Clouded Yellow.
& Photographs link (Ray Hamblett's site).
Orchid Information (Really Wild Flowers)
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.
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.
Arvicola terrestris, were living in and around the streams
on the western side of the Adur, centred on New
Monks Farm, Lancing. American
also been seen on the western side of the river. Also both predators
and Foxes have increased since the increase
in Rabbit numbers.
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.
natrix, are also present as well as numerous
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
were grazing on the flood plains (main field in the photograph) for the
first time in my memory (January 1999).
by Andy Horton
are common residents with visiting Herons.
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
fly in on feeding visits throughout the year.. The
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.
araneus, scuttle quickly across the cycle
path from Old Shoreham to Bramber.
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.
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.
regularly fly over Cuckoo's Corner. The casual visitor is unlikely to see
Maple occurs bordering the Coombes Road,
and at the foot of Mill Hill.
and Damselflies of Adur
in the lower Adur valley levels:
|| Aglais urticae
|| Anthocharis cardamines
|| Celastrina argiolus
|| Colias croceus
|| Gonepteryx rhamni
|| Inachis io
|| Maniola jurtina
| Large White
|| Pieris brassicae
|| Polyommatus icarus
|| Pyronia tithonus
|| Vanessa atalanta
|| Vanessa cardui
|| Ochlodes venata
|| Thymelicus sylvestris
|| Lasiommata megera