Adur Levels:  Narrow Field next to the stream between the Steyning Road (A283) and the Waterworks (TQ 209 068)  (from June 2003 only)
known as Spring Dyke 
 Small Tortoiseshell ButterflySmall Copper ButterflyCuckoo's Corner
The River Adur flood plain

The narrow field next to the stream by the Steyning Road (TQ 209 068). It has had various names in the past including Miller's Stream the then owner of the adjacent field. It has also been known as Spring Dyke

Link to the 2005 Wildlife Reports

7 December 2004
An unseasonal 12.3 ºC prompted me a visit when I would normally have thought it not worth the trip, and nothing much moved except I disturbed a pair of Mallards. I had to watch my step to avoid a burrow with a entrance of 25 cm in diameter, too big for a rabbit, and to avoid stepping on black faeces which I think were from Fox and Deer, at a wild guess. The hole, burrow or den did not smell. It seemed very clean. The Moorhens seem to have deserted Miller's Stream, where they were once the noisiest and prevalent feature. There were at least four distinctive calls from birds hidden in the bushes, but I am not experienced to put a name to each to these.

Fungi is usually the only thing growing of interest in December and it was not until my departure (by the gate) that I discovered two species. The red-orange mushroom growing from the reed strewn soil measured 22 cm cap diameter and it was 44 mm high and this is probably Tubaria furfuracea seen last winter (above far left and second from the left). The other species (two images above, second from right to far right, and an image to the right of this text) looked much smaller, although the measurements of this tall mushroom were 90 mm high and a conical cap diameter of 18 mm, with a smaller specimen next to it which measured 65 mm high and a brown conical cap that was about 7 mm in diameter. This species came out of the soil and the base of the stipe was root-like as shown in the photograph on the far right. The smaller mushroom of the same species had pale cream-fawn-greyish gills that had not turned black.

Tubaria furfuracea certainly looks likely.
The other one is a Psathyrella - if it is rooting it's Psathyrella microrhiza, but rooting refers to a small tap root, not lots of little white rootlets (which would be called "strigose"). Must dig up carefully and then usually need to cut in half (vertically) to see if it's rooting. If not rooting, then probably Psathyrella  gracilis. They both start out brown and dry pale grey to dirty white, but young caps of Psathyrella microrhiza are richer brown and more parabolic whereas Psathyrella  gracilis is duller and more conical. Tubaria furfuracea, Psathyrella microrhiza and Psathyrella  gracilis all usually grow from sawdust, although late in the season (i.e. December!) Tubaria furfuracea grows on soil - some people call this another species (Tubaria hiemalis, I think).

Identification and Comment by Malcolm Storey (BioImages) on the Fungi of the British Isles (Yahoo Group)
Fungi of Shoreham

25 November 2004
The vegetation had been cut down by some large mechanical vehicle and it was muddy under foot. There was still enough shelter for two male Pheasants that called before taking flight, followed on a separate occasion by a female Pheasant. This was the total of interest. There were clumps of what could have been deer dung. There were no sign of mushrooms or fungi.

8 October 2004
An adult Roe Deer was seen in the narrow overgrown field next to the stream by the Steyning Road through the binoculars from the top of Mill Hill.

Report by Jan Hamblett

Common Blue Butterfly3 September 2004
I cut through the Bramble thorns near the gate with my secateurs, but Bindweed and Thistles hampered me, and when I found a view amongst the Fleabane, there was nothing of note. I took a photograph of the Crane Fly, the exact species not yet labelled.

 7 August 2004
In the evening at a time when virtually all the butterflies had gone to roost and the bramble spikes made progress very difficult, I disturbed a Gatekeeper Butterfly and one of every small dark Common Blue Butterflies. These look like Small Blues at first because of their colour but their underside is richly spotted and patterned revealing their true identity. This is worth a note because of possible confusion.

19 July 2004
The sudden appearance of a Peacock Butterfly was a bit if a surprise. It shouldn't have been as there were enough Stinging Nettles around.
The half a dozen Small/Essex Skippers were on the orangey side, but they appeared to have black undersides to their antennae which would indicate Essex Skippers.

15 July 2004
A Blue-tailed Dragonfly and a red Ruddy Darter showed. There were a handful of Small Skippers as well. They would not stay still enough for a photograph, but they did appear to be the conventional Small Skippers, very orangey and not Essex Skippers.
Adur Skippers

2 July 2004
Two Small Heath Butterflies were seen for the first time in the field with Meadow Browns (4+).


29 June 2004
There was a Burnet Moth with a striking blue striped abdomen (below right). This was originally thought to be the Narrow-bordered Five-Spot Burnet Moth, Zygaena lonicerae. However, it it was perhaps even more likely to be a late flyer of the Five-Spot Burnet Moth, Zygaena trifolii ssp. palustrella. A Small Skipper was also recorded.
ID Message from Trevor Boyd on UK Leps
Adur Burnet Moths
Adur Skippers
Hoverfly (Bumblebee mimic?) Burnet Moth with a very bluish abdomen (not shown)

Common Darters were the only dragonflies with no damselflies seen.

Hogweed21 June 2004
This hoverfly (above left) looks like the bumblebee mimic Volucella bombylans var. bombylans seen hovering around in the field next to the stream between the Steyning Road (A283) and the Waterworks (TQ 209 068).

A couple of Common Darters were present in thistle-overgrown field as well.

At a fraction over two metres high, I thought that this one was the Giant Hogweed, Heracleum mantegazzianum, at least one plant growing amongst the thistles. This huge alien plant can cause an untreatable and unpleasant rash on affected people. The ubiquitous Common Hogweed, Heracleum sphondylium, grows to a height of two metres in favourable conditions, although it is usually much smaller. The rash produced from the sap of the native umbellifer is not so harmful.

In favour of the identification of the Giant Hogweed is that these plants have reached this height in about six months. The Common Hogweed is thought to grow this fast, but at the time of writing, I have not found details of the growth rates on these two hogweeds.
Adur Hogweed Page

The hogweeds exude a clear watery sap which sensitizes the skin to ultraviolet radiation. This can result in severe burns to the affected areas resulting in severe blistering and painful dermatitis. These blisters can develop into purplish or blackened scars.
Giant Hogweed Information Page

14 June 2004
There were a pair of Goldfinches on the top of a Hawthorn tree.

9 June 2004
The thistles were over a metre high and the dull brown-orange dragonfly and looked larger and flightier than a damselfly and it was an early Ruddy Darter* (originally misidentified as a Common Darter). This is a very early date for the emergence of this dragonfly, but it was photographed.

* Identified by David Kitching and confirmed by Phil Lord on UK Dragonflies (Yahoo Group)
The identification point is the all-black legs without a trace of ochre/yellow found on the Common Darter.
Lacewings, Chrysopa perla, were noticed, but no butterflies or other prominent insects were noted in a very brief visit.
27 May 2004
A handful of Lacewings, Chrysopa perla
rested on the foliage
14 June 2004
The earliest Ruddy Darter* was first recorded on 9 June 2004

27 May 2004
Two Large Red Damselflies, Pyrrhosoma nymphula, were mating and at least one Blue-tailed Damselfly, Ischnura elegans, was spotted as well.
Adur Dragonfly Flight Times
This plant was found in the verge  on the opposite (western) side of the road to the field. 

This is the Wood Avens, which is found in my garden

26 May 2004
I was not sure if it it was two or three species of damselfly I was viewing over the waist high thistles and tall nettles in the narrow field next to the stream by the Steyning Road (TQ 209 068). The males and females of over 30 Azure Damselflies, Coenagrion puella, look appreciably different, and the head of the females are often black and white. The other species, the Large Red Damselfly,Sawfly, probably Arge cyanocroceaPyrrhosoma nymphula, was the first time I have seen this common species, although other observers have seen it and it is usually the first species reported each year.
Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies

The sawfly on the right looks like Arge cyanocrocea. The larvae are found on Bramble.
Sawfly ID by Patrick Roper(RX Wildlife)on the British Insects Yahoo Group

Azure Damselfly
Red Damselfly
Azure Damselfly
Azure Damselfly 
Large Red Damselfly

A single male Green-veined White Butterfly made a belated appearance. The Yellow Flag Iris were flowering by the road and on the banks of the stream as it turned the corner on its easterly meanderings.

 Cranefly is Tipula lunata (female)
ID by Malcolm Storey (BioImages)
 BioImage (Link)
 Snipe Fly in the centre is Rhagio sp.
(either R. scolopacea or 
R. tringarius)
ID by Malcolm Storey
 BioImage (Link)
Small Tortoiseshell Caterpillar
The earlier stages of Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars are much blacker (Image)

British Insects (Yahoo Group)

19 May 2004
In the field between the Waterworks (at Old Shoreham) and the east side of the Steyning Road, it was really fascinating just how attached the smaller yellow butterfly was, as a pair of Green-veined White Butterflies were mating despite being bothered by other butterflies of the same species and a photographer. There were about half a dozen in flight, the other four were soloists. The larger white of the mating pair had very ragged wings. Most books suggest these are as a result of bird attack but there is the possibility of insect or small rodent attack as well.
White Butterflies of Adur

Green-veined White Butterflies

There were about the same number of Azure Damselflies, Coenagrion puella, with at least four of them male and these were over the prickly thistles and nettles rather than the stream.
British Dragonfly Society
British Dragonflies Checklist
Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies
Local Flight Times

27 April 2004
Emperor MothIt was not until I almost stepped on it that the large speckled brown bird took to the air with a flurry as the heavyweight took a second to become airborne from the Creeping Thistle and Stinging Nettle in the narrow field next to stream that leads from the Steyning Road (A283) to the Waterworks.  Amazingly it was on my return journey and I could have passed the bird just a few metres away and still not seen it or disturbed even though the green vegetation would have scarcely camouflaged it. The flight was a gentle arc and it disappeared behind some bushes on the southern side of the stream, but it did not appear to be more than 30 metres away. It did not call. It struggled to get airborne with a whirring flight like a Partridge, it seemed at least the size of an Oystercatcher and probably larger, and it was a light fawn and I did not notice a long beak. It was probably a hen Pheasant.

ID by Paul Marten on Sussex Birds Yahoo Group

The streamside vegetation housed a badly injured Emperor Moth, Pavonia pavonia, which was too damaged to fly away and an Egg Yolk Fungus, Bolbitius vitellinus, that was so dried out that it had gone white as straw. The stem is distinctive. This fungus grows on old cow pats and old hay. The old rotting reeds are comparable.
Fungi ID by Jean J Wuilebaut on Fungi of the British Isles (Yahoo Group)
Adur Fungi: Fruiting Times
There was a possible Reed Warbler amongst the bushes rather than the reeds, although this may be because I disturbed it. It was a warbler (small bird) of one species.
Adur Levels 2004

2 April 2004
I looked into the sheep's field (The Circus Field) on the Adur Levels to the direct west of Mill Hill next to the Steyning Road. The shallow stream was already dry for the second year in succession and there were no frog spawn or tadpoles to be seen. Sometimes, tadpoles can be seen in the larger stream between the Steyning Road (A283) and the Waterworks (TQ 209 068) but none were visible, although in their early stages they are difficult to see amongst the brown algae.
A pair of Mallards took flight. The handful of Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies were as orange as in the photograph at the top of the page. The Moorhens were absent.

10 February 2004
Only a handful of Tubaria furfuracea mushroom remain, although there were at least two very small fresh fruiting bodies. A Grey Heron took off, but there were none of the usual Moorhens to be seen.

21 January 2004
The stream was in flood with a pair of Mallards and a Grey Heron taking off when disturbed. (The usual Moorhens were absent.) Over a hundred specimens of the Tubaria furfuracea mushroom were growing on their long stems in the long grass amongst the twigs. They were darker brown-orange than the previous pictures and one of them had a white dandruffy cap which may have given this species its Latin specific name. None of the caps were concave.

Fungi on the small logs, each less than 10 mm across

Stereum hirsutum comes in lots of different colours although the shape seems usually about the same. 
Both photographs. ID by Jean J Wuilbaut


By the gate an the entrance to the narrow field it looked that there was a black cylindrical droppings of a Fox. Sheep were grazing on the field to the north and small fungi were growing on the logs by the double gate.

Adur Nature Notes 2004


4 December 2003
Tubaria furufaceaReturning to the overgrown field to the west of the Steyning Road north of Old Shoreham and the A27 Flyover to confirm sizes and small points about the fungi, I saw about 20 small red/orange cap of the orange species Tubaria furfuracea with some of them with a slightly different appearance, slightly paler creamy in colour cap with just a tinge of orange.
Before I could raise my camera the lumbering Grey Herons were airborne, but half a dozen Mallards waited for a minute before they took rapidly to the air from the stream cleared of vegetation.
Fungi of Shoreham (with more images)

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.
Tubaria furufacea Tubaria furufacea

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.

Tubaria furufaceaA 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 season.)

IDs and notes by Malcolm Storey (BioImages)

At the foot of a Hawthorn Tree there was a clump of Coprinus mushrooms. These are the 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)

12 November 2003
It was time for this narrow field to be mechanically shorn of its remaining vegetation. The private field will now become passable until next summer. The photograph at the top of the page shows the narrow field by the stream after dense cover has been removed.

3 October 2003
I disturbed a dozen Wood Pigeons which were more than usual. The Hawthorn Trees were bright red with berries. The Water Mint was still flowering in places, but all the Fleabane and Creeping Thistle had all ceased.

20 September 2003
One Painted Lady and one Small Copper Butterfly were out in the sunshine in a fleeting visit of a few minutes only. Both butterflies preferred to nectar on Fleabane, which was the most prevalent flower.

Common Fleabane in mid-September16 September 2003
The 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.
Of the two Small Copper Butterflies, both attracted to the Fleabane (to both the yellow flowers and the dead heads), neither of them seemed to be the two seen before because the slight wing damage was different. There was at least one Common Blue Butterfly, an unidentified White Butterfly, and a Red Admiral Butterfly flying over the Hawthorn Trees.

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 (TQ 209 068) has been known (from previous observation) as a place where 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.

8 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, Water Mint, Fleabane and Teasel, altogether the vegetation associated with a neglected pasture that was no longer grazed.
Small Copper Butterfly (Photograph by Andy Horton)

Small Copper Butterfly

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 (the butterfly on the left has a small nick on its left upper forewing). It looked dainty but chased off what could have been a Common Blue Butterfly.

19 August 2003
The Green-veined White Butterfly favoured brief nectaring on the Willowherb, Epilobium, to Fleabane 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).
Water Mint
Great Willowherb

24 July 2003
Timandra comaeThe Green-veined White Butterfly and the pale moth with the book name of  Blood Vein, Timandra comae, were photographed from this field, but the images were not examined until much later. The moth caterpillar includes Dock amongst its food plants. (The name Timandra griseata used in some books is a mistake and refers to a species not found in the British Isles. Name information by John Muggleton via UK Moths. Click on this text for spelling of the specific name information.) The correct scientific name may be Timantra comai, (this seems not to be official).
Checklist of UK Recorded Geometridae (MapMate)

Essex Skipper ?19 July 2003
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 were originally identified as Large Skippers by mistake.)  (These could be Essex Skippers. No attempt has been made to separate the two very similar species.) There was a handful of Meadow Brown Butterflies and at least one Gatekeeper was present.
Adur Butterflies
Adur Skippers

PS: The skipper in the photograph on the right is now thought to be an Essex Skipper, because of the black undertips of the antennae (the tips are all black) and the partial black membrane on the outside edge of the fore (outer) wings (the pattern is more extensive on the Small Skipper). In practice, I do not know if the first ID point is very clear to differentiate and I do not know if the second one is definitive.
Butterfly Conservation:  Small Skipper
Butterfly Conservation:  Essex Skipper
How to distinguish the Common Skipper Thymelicus sylvestris from the Essex Skipper, T. lineola

11 July 2003
Green-veined White (Photographs by Andy Horton)A bright red Darter Dragonfly was impressive, but also flighty, avoiding the camera. This was originally thought to be a Common Darter, but it is almost certainly a Ruddy Darter.  A Moorhen clattered up the stream and the incongruous sight was a Great Spotted Woodpecker overhead, flying for the nearest tree.

5 July 2003
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 (Small?) 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

Late June 2003:
21 June 2003
Large Skipper (Photograph by Andy Horton)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 DamselfliesIschnura elegans, (12+) amongst the Azure Damselflies, Coenagrion puella, (12+). I still failed to take a presentable image, as my Pentax 330GS digital camera is not really up to close-up work of flying insects. Notable observations were made of one Large Skipper (it did not look particularly large), a handful of Meadow Brown Butterflies and a few Small Tortoiseshells. There was a Cinnabar Moth plus one Poplar Hawk-moth Laothoe populi.
British Dragonflies Checklist

Two caterpillars (illustrated below) were prominent on the tops of leaves, and were discovered on a reed and a Stinging Nettle next to each other.

The first caterpillar identification is now confirmed.
Top 20 Moths (UK Moths)

The Peacock Butterfly caterpillar can be found as a caterpillar from the end of May (the eggs are laid in May) to mid-July and the adults in flight from the beginning of August to the middle of May, but with a lengthy hibernation period during the colder months. (Reader's Digest, "Wildlife on your Doorstep" p.93)
What is the Caterpillar web page

Azure Damselfly
Azure Damselfly
Knot Grass  Moth larva
Acronicta rumicis
Peacock Butterfly caterpillar

  Ecological Habitat Studies


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 may have been Blue-tailed Damselflies, Ischnura elegans, but these specimens avoided the camera.
Thistles of Adur

Azure Damselfly

Click on the images of the damselflies for a closer look.
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 three) Dark Bush Crickets, Pholidoptera griseoaptera, were slow to hide in the thick vegetation.

Back to Adur Levels page
This page will contain earlier reports from this field up to 2003

Adur Levels 2004

MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and the Downs

Link to Adur Valley Nature Notes 2003
Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2004 Index page