Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex
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WILDLIFE HIGHLIGHTS 2004
Most unusual or
7 December 2004
The most attractive of the four two
century old large Chestnut Trees in Buckingham Park has now been butchered. It had
received damage after the gales in July 2004, but it has now been destroyed as an
important landmark and this was the best tree in the whole of the Adur district.
21 September 2004
Devil's Bit Scabious has been feature on the downs this autumn notably between Slonk Hill and Mossy Bottom
(near Stonechat Junction) and on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
22 August 2004
A Hornet Robber Fly, Asilus crabroniformis,
(a Biodiversity Action Plan
species), a rare rather menacing looking large flying predatory insect associated in this
case with horse's dung and reputed to prey on the dung insects,
settled on the path (the
footpath from the Waterworks Road next to the Horse's Fields
on the way to Mill Hill) in front of me, the second one of these flies I had seen
in the last few days. It is a strong flyer.
Identification by Malcolm Storey on British Insects Yahoo Group
25 July 2004
Rising from the tall shrubbery in
the Ravensbourne Avenue garden to the the rear of the back garden of 40 The Drive, (TQ 219 063), a large grey female Sparrowhawk looked menacing as it flew over the
garage in a westerly direction and quickly disappeared from the view. This surprising
record was the first hawk recorded in this part of town near Buckingham Park.
7 June 2004
A young Common Toad, Bufo bufo, has appeared in my south Lancing garden, (TQ 186 044.
Photograph by Ray Hamblett
Toad Portrait Gallery
Lancing Nature Galleries
Report by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature) on the Freshwater Life of of North-western
Europe "Smart Group"
3 June 2004
A short 30 minute spell of push-netting
for shrimps off Shoreham beach on the low spring tide produced two
dozen Brown Shrimps, Crangon
crangon, a handful
of the South-clawed
Hermit Crab, Diogenes
pugilator, one young venomous Lesser Weever, Echiichthys vipera, two juvenile Grey Swimming Crabs, Liocarcinus vernalis, one swimming crab Portumnus
latipes with 30+ young Flounders and two young Sole.
Identification of the crab (right)
by by Richard
and others on the Marine
Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group
Marine Life Study Society
17 May 2004
The Small Blue Butterfly is confirmed from Slonk Hill
where the first Adonis
Blue Butterfly of the
year was also seen with a Grizzled
Skipper and a Small White Butterfly or two. Two more Adonis Blues were seen on Mill Hill.
26 April 2004
As the first Horseshoe Vetch and Milkwort
were beginning to flower on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, there was a small moth that could be mistaken in flight for a Grizzled Skipper. It was only about half the size though and I have
now identified this species as Pyrausta
nigrata. The books record this moth flying in June
and July or September and October. The main flying time on Mill Hill is April and May.
20 April 2004
A solitary toadstool was amongst
the still short grass near a Hawthorn bush. I recognised it immediately as a Morel because of its unusual distinctive appearance. I had not
seen one before and although an edible species, I left it in its place just south of the
9 April 2004
coloured Emperor Moth, Pavonia pavonia, rested among the
grasses on Mill Hill. It was discovered by Katherine Hamblett and Tacita French at the top of the lower slopes.
Report and photograph by Jan Hamblett (Lancing Nature) on UK-Leps (Yahoo Group)
30 March 2004
Over fifty lizards skittered up the
extensive crumbling flint walls of the Old Fort (Shoreham Beach) (TQ 234 046) with dexterity, very quickly (too quickly to
photograph) after basking in the warmth of the morning sun.
I think the lizards seen at the
Old Fort are the Common (or Viviparous) Lizard,Zootoca vivipara.
Postscript: these lizards
have now been definitely identified as the Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis.
Identifications by Chris Davis (Herpetological Conservation Trust)
Lizard Comparison Photographs
28 March 2004
It had been so long since I had
seen a Rook close-up that I was beginning to think
that I could not tell them apart from Crows. So it
was to my surprise and astonishment when one turned up on the small tree in the back
garden of 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), Shoreham-by-Sea, (TQ 219 063) to feed on scraps at about 5:00 pm BST. It did so eagerly with its distinctive long thin
silver beak and face, gobbling up three pieces of diced bread, before being chased off by
what looked like a Crow.
26 March 2004
Quite the most magnificent bird I
have ever seen in the Adur area, a pale fawnish-brown Barn Owl flew majestically in a straight line above the
Ricardo test track opposite the Sussex Pad Hotel (at the southern end of the Coombes Road)
and then veered into the cover of the trees. The bird flew at 4:45 pm in bright sunshine so the view was far from
fleeting. I was struck by the size of this bird as it appeared much bigger than expected,
especially its head which was looking in my direction.
17 March 2004
Two pairs of Great Spotted Woodpeckers chased their partners around the tree tops opposite Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes road. They made a tremendous
commotion as they performed their antics, with a rattling trill-like call that was
repeated at regular intervals. At times it seemed if two males were competing over one
female and at another time, it seemed that there were two separate pairs.
10 February 2004
A Sandwich Tern flew arrow-like a purposely over the shallow sea
(at high tide) parallel with Southwick beach before disappearing out of view to the west.
Terns are unusual in the winter months.
9 February 2004
A flutter of orange and the unmistakable patterns
of a Painted Lady
Butterfly that flew
steadily over the southern section of Mill Hill. Later, a
second Painted Lady flew around the copse and settled on the Beech leaves still on the tree and several times on the grass. Painted Lady Butterflies are unusual in the winter and spring.
Could these be immigrant butterflies rather than
Some lepidopterists tend to favour
immigration, although amongst all the naturalists, the views seem to be about 50/50. I am
tending towards the view that some adult butterflies have been able to survive the mild
NB: The last date on record
for Painted Ladies in the Adur area last year was 10 October 2003.
has found evidence of Painted
Ladies hibernating in
Immigration of Lepidoptera
Butterfly Flight Times
29 January 2004
of dolphins were observed in the sea off Widewater
Lagoon, Lancing, Sussex at 2:00 pm in the afternoon. This was
an unusual event off the Sussex coast and most occasional observations have been in the
summer months. Pods of dolphins have been seen off Selsey Bill, West Sussex in the last
few days. "Skein" is the term used by the observer and I have not known this
collective noun used before for dolphins. I have not heard in use for geese or ducks
either. Hearsay Report by
Brian Street (Shoreham)
Marine Life Study Society News Reports Winter 2004
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