Adur Levels & Estuary    2009

Adur Levels 2010

20 December 200920 December 2009
The temperature remained above freezing all night after midnight, but dropped just below at first light, the first minus recorded at 8:00 am at minus 0.5 °C.  A significant amount of snow still lay on grass verges, a small amount of melting occurred causing the pavements to be hazardous with compacted snow covered in ice.

18 December 2009
There was 75 mm depth of snow on the urban pavements (measured outside of my front door). The air temperature fell below freezing, minus 0.6 °C, at 11.00 am.

Snow on the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham

As dusk fell, the temperature dropped to minus 1.5 °C at 5:00 pm.

26 November 2009
A Little Grebe dived under the water a few metres south of the Toll Bridge at low tide. At Cuckoo's Corner, there were small flocks of Chaffinches and Greenfinches, and a few Dunnocks, Goldfinches and Great Tits. In the stream offshoot near the house at Ladywells a few Moorhens paddled about and there was a Robin near the house on the Coombes Road south of Cuckoo's Corner. A Seal reported in the river was not seen.

5 November 2009
On a high spring tide, a Little Egret was observed fishing in the shallow water and capturing a morsel every three minutes or so. At a distance it was difficult to see what it was actually capturing in its long black beak, but on at least two occasions it looked like small Shore Crabs, Carcinus maenas, that tried to wriggle out of its beak without success. On the return journey (from Lancing Ring) the tide had receded revealing some of the mud flats on which a pair of Redshanks were courting, running around together, flying short distances in unison and swimming together in the shallow river, like ducks.

25 October 2009
About fifty Lapwings all rose in unison from the mudflats on the River Adur north of the Toll Bridge, spooked by a female Sparrowhawk seen above the trees near Ricardos. The Sparrowhawk was seen much closer from the Coombes Road over the Ricardos testing ground. A Linnet perched on a fence near Cuckoo's Corner. In the field to the north a few hundred Common Gulls rested on the ploughed Broad Bean field, occasionally rising up in unison for no reason that could be ascertained.
11 October 2009
On a cloudy day with spots of rain there were scores of Greater Black-backed Gulls and occasional Grey Plovers on the mudflats at mid neap tide south of the Toll Bridge in Old Shoreham. A Lapwing wheeled around waiting to land when more of the mud was exposed. 

10-11 October 2009
A juvenile Common (or Harbour) Seal, Phoca vitulina, was seen swimming in the River Adur estuary by the Surry Hard, near where some of the smaller fishing boats are moored. On the second day the seal was reported by Andrew Bellamy in the river at Upper Beeding. Seals are a rare sight off the mid-Sussex coast, but a few have been seen off Shoreham Beach before. The nearest rookery is a small group of seals in Chichester Harbour which are occasionally seen around Selsey (Seal Island).

Report and video in the Shoreham Herald
Previous Sighting in 2008
8 October 2009
On the Downs-Coastal Link Cyclepath in Old Shoreham (south of the Toll Bridge) a single patch of still flowering Buddleia attracted two Painted Ladies, a Peacock Butterfly, a Large White and a transient passing Holly Blue Butterfly. All four butterflies were seen simultaneously. The Holly Blue was a surprise third brood butterfly. 
Full Butterfly Report
29 September 2009
A Little Egret and Redshank on the River Adur at low tide, photographed from the Toll Bridge in Old Shoreham

25 September 2009
At low tide at the first bend of the River Adur north of the Toll Bridge, a Grey Heron caught a flatfish, probably a Flounder, but it appeared too large for the bird to swallow.
Common Darters (a dragonfly) were frequently seen everywhere over the Adur Levels and outskirts of Old Shoreham. Butterflies were represented by the omnipresent Large Whites, and a Red Admiral and a Painted Lady were seen over the Ivy on the western verge of the cyclepath south of the Toll Bridge. On a cycle ride along the towpath to Upper Beeding added a Comma Butterfly and a Speckled Wood over the cyclepath part. The return by the Downs-Coastal Link Cyclepath to Old Shoreham added a few more Speckled Woods and to my surprise a definite Wall Brown on the path verges about about 100 metres north of the Toll Bridge.
Full Butterfly Report

23 September 2009
A few Large White Butterflies and one Painted Lady Butterfly with about twenty Speckled Woods (all resting on the path and disturbed as I cycled along) were seen on a cycle ride up the Downs-Coastal Link Cyclepath from Old Shoreham halfway to Upper Beeding and a return by the towpath. The most interesting wildlife was a flock of at least a dozen and perhaps up twenty Long-tailed Tits over the hedgerow on the western side of the cyclepath.
Adur Butterfly List 2009

22 September 2009
At the early morning 0.5 metre equinoctial low spring tide at Kingston Beach (entrance to Shoreham Harbour) there was a patrolling Little Egret, a Grey Heron feeding as the tide came in around the Chart Datum mark, and two Cormorants, at first fanning their wings and then actively searching for fish and prawns. An Eel, Anguilla anguilla, was discovered under a rock and in the mid-tidal pools under the wooden groyne, I netted one 5-Bearded Rockling, Ciliata mustela.
Rockpooling Report
21 September 2009
The high 6.6 metre equinoctial spring tide lapped against the banks of the Adur near the Toll Bridge. On a very hurried cycle passage route along the cyclepath south of the Toll Bridge, another Clouded Yellow Butterfly fluttered almost into my path. 
Adur Butterfly List 2009

6 September 2009

Red Admiral on Ivy

In the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road, the impressive second Volucella zonaria hoverfly of the year settled on the wooden railings for a few seconds. Amongst the Ivy on the verges of the cyclepath south of the Toll Bridge in Old Shoreham, the hoverflies and bees would not give the butterflies any rest and three pristine Red Admirals and three faded Painted Ladies were disturbed. The Garden Orb Spiders, Araneus diadematus, were beginning to cast their webs.
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Spiders

3 September 2009
On another overcast rainy day, just the two butterflies were seen; a Comma Butterfly nearly underneath the A27 Flyover on the western bank of the river where a patch of Fleabane and Ragwort were still in flower*, and a Small White on the cyclepath south of the Toll Bridge in Old Shoreham. (*The bicycle broke down here and I proceeded no further.)

Wasp Spider16 August 2009
By the Steyning Road in Old Shoreham (near the start of the footpath to the Waterworks Road and Mill Hill before the Field Maple tunnel) I spotted my first Wasp Spider, Argiope bruennichi, of 2009. It had spun a web over the Brambles and other  vegetation. Very close by a small black and yellow hoverfly Xanthogramma pedissequum flitted in the undergrowth. As I photographed the hoverfly a very young Newt scuttled over a small ant hill.
Adur Spiders

12 August 2009
On an overcast afternoon, I decided to cycle along the Downs-Coastal Link Cyclepath from Old Shoreham to Annington Sewer (north of Botolphs). I had no plans to count the butterflies, only to note the species. The inevitable Painted Ladies were frequently seen everywhere, less frequent were Large Whites, Small Whites and in the shady areas Speckled Woods and a few Green-veined Whites. Gatekeeperswere occasionally seen, many less than a week previously, with two Red Admirals, two Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock Butterfly noted along the cyclepath.

4 August 2009
The most notable observation of the day was a markedly-patterned Magpie Moth amongst the Stinging Nettles on the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham. Later on the afternoon there was a Wall Brown Butterfly on the towpath of the River Adur, north of Cuckoo's Corner. elsewhere on the outskirts of Shoreham, I noted frequent Common Blues, occasional Gatekeepers, a few Meadow Browns, occasional Large Whites, a definite Green-veined White and a few Small Whites. And of course, frequent Painted Ladies that fluttered around almost everywhere.
Full Butterfly Report
Green-veined White

1 August 2009
About a dozen Green-veined White Butterflies flew around the Stinging Nettles and White Deadnettles etc on an earth bank at the north-east corner of Adur Recreation Ground by the Railway Viaduct. Two were about to mate when I disturbed them. This species may have been seen in the previous few days but were not positively identified. A Painted Lady landed on a Stinging Nettle. Around the towpath adjacent to the Airport there were frequent Common Blues, at least one Gatekeeper seen and a Large White fluttered strongly before it began to rain after midday.

20 July 2009

Common Blue
Female Gatekeeper
Common Blue
Ringlet Butterfly
Female Gatekeeper

The weather was still too inclement for butterflies after a wet and breezy weekend, but despite the poor conditions a Ringlet Butterfly was recorded on the Waterworks Road for the first time in this location on these web pages and it flew towards Mill Hill to just about make a first inclusion in Mill Hill Nature Reserve.
Full Butterfly Report

14 July 2009
A visit to Tottington Woods, Small Dole, with Jan Hamblett, resulted in the sightings of two butterflies not recorded personally in the Lower Adur Valley area before.

Silver-washed Fritillary
White Admiral
White Admiral

There were frequent flights under the canopy of Oak and Willow of the large and splendid Silver-washed Fritillaries flying up to about five metres above the ground vegetation and wood piles and occasionally landing for a photograph. Two splendid White Admirals were spotted, the first one slightly worn and intact, and the one that landed in front of us was damaged with two chunks missing out of its left forewing. Other butterflies seen in the woods were frequent Large Whites, occasional Small Whites, frequent Peacock Butterflies, frequent Speckled Woods, frequent Gatekeepers, occasional Meadow Browns, occasional Comma Butterflies, a few Small Skippers, at least two Large Skippers, at least one Red Admiral, frequent Ringlets, and on the mown field immediately outside of the woods to the south-east a Marbled White fluttered amongst the shorn grass.

Adur Butterfly Flight Times
There were two ponds in Tottington Wood. The pond in the photograph at the eastern end hosted a Small Red Damselfly. A Migrant Hawker (dragonfly) was seen in a woodland ride and on the edges of the duckweed covered duck pond at the southern part of the wood, Common Blue Damselflies mated over the Gypsywort-covered edges. It was in this area where most of the Peacock Butterflies and occasional Comma Butterflies were to be seen. 
Adur Dragonflies 2009
4 July 2009
The languid flight of a male Banded Demoiselle with its dark blue wings was a notable sighting in the late afternoon on the banks of the River Adur north of Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes Road. There is a stream that runs from Cuckoo's Corner northwards alongside a field of Broad Beans.

Adur Level Reports 2009
Full Butterfly Report

3 July 2009
A pair of Mute Swans and six grey cygnets were feeding constantly in the small stream called the Annington Sewer near the Oak Tree.

Mute Swan and cygnets
Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

A pristine Peacock Butterfly was spotted on the Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath halfway between Upper Beeding and Old Shoreham which makes 18 species seen in the first three days of July. Just ten butterfly species were spotted on a breezy afternoon including my first Small Tortoiseshell of the year that stayed still long to capture it on camera.
Full Butterfly Report

29 June 2009
The Mute Swan count was 35 near the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham, and a further 8 at the Cuckoo's Corner inlet at high tide.

Gatekeeper Female Meadow Brown
Male Gatekeeper
Female Meadow Brown

I suspected that the small brown butterflies blown about in the breeze of the last few days were Gatekeepers, but a male settled for confirmation for the first definite of the year. On the Adur Levels, Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Moths, Zygaena lonicerae, visited Tufted Vetch, for the first record in 2009. Eight butterfly species  were recorded near Shoreham in the late afternoon, including a Marbled White and Small Tortoiseshell over Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Full Butterfly & Moth Report
Adur Burnet Moths

25 June 2009

22 June 2009
A cycle ride from Old Shoreham to Annington Sewer along the Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath produced frequent butterflies including at least two of my first Ringlet Butterflies of the year and six other butterfly species. There did not seem to be as many Mute Swans as usual, but there were probably about fifty in the reaches around Upper Beeding.

Ringlet Butterfly
Cinnabar Moth
Banded Demoiselle

Viper's Bugloss near the Toll BridgeThe most interesting observations of the day occurred at Annington Sewer where a large blue dragonfly flew over the stream and it looked subtly different from a Southern Hawker and may very well have been a male Emperor Dragonfly. Unfortunately, it quickly flew out of sight. Its display was excelled by a pair of  Banded Demoiselles, Calopteryx splendens, that danced over the stream for a full ten minutes and probably longer. They appeared to be courting, but both of the wings had bright blue patches whereas the female has wings of metallic green. Interestingly there was a resting emerald green damselfly of about the same size which may have been a female of the species. There were a few Azure Damselflies, Coenagrion puella, and at least one Large Red Damselfly, Pyrrhosoma nymphula. Over a stream next to the Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath there was another Large Red Damselfly, Azure Damselflies and one Blue-Tailed Damselfly. The hoverfly Helophilus pendulus was spotted on a Hardhead.

Full Butterfly Report
Adur Dragonflies 2009
Full Dragonfly and Damselfly Report
New Wild Flowers

12 June 2009
On the Coastal Link Cyclepath just south of the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham, the flying insect fluttering and being blown about in the breeze was not a butterfly but a Banded Demoiselle (a damselfly).
Adur Dragonflies and Damsels 2009
Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Moth
Banded Demoiselle

I recorded my first Meadow Brown Butterfly of 2009 over the Coastal Link Cyclepath on a cycle ride to Botolphs. It was a male with its all brown markings. There were about eight seen as I cycled past with one Painted Lady, two Large Whites, a handful of Speckled Woods and a few male Common Blues. My first of the year Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Moth was one of two on Creeping Thistle at the back of Dacre Gardens next to Anchor Bottom, Upper Beeding. Wild Mignonette hosted a dozen Small Blue Butterflies and one male Common Blue in the same area.
On the Coastal Link Cyclepath the following wild plants were recorded in flower for the first time this year: Hemp Agrimony (one), Lesser Stitchwort (frequent), Scentless Mayweed, Hedge Woundwort (a few beginning to flower), with Pyramidal Orchids now making a presence, but not yet fully in flower. The hoverfly Helophilus pendulus was spotted on an Ox-eye Daisy.
New Wild Flowers
Full Butterfly & Moth Report

21 May 2009
A leisurely cycle trip in the sunshine along the Coastal Link Cyclepath to Upper Beeding recorded occasional Large Whites, a few Small Whites and Green-veined Whites, about three Common Blues noticed, one or more Brimstone Butterflies, occasional vanessids including a few worn Peacocks and a good condition Red Admiral, two Wall Browns and a few Speckled Woods. The pale female Brimstone fluttered from one Common Vetch flower to another.
Wild Flower Report
Full Butterfly Report

19 May 2009
On another blustery day, the only butterfly seen in Shoreham and the immediate outskirts was a Wall Brown on the Coastal Link Cyclepath just north of the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham.

11 May 2009
A Rabbit with a substantial amount of grass out of both corners of its mouth was seen entering a hole in the vegetation south of the Toll Bridge.

6 May 2009
On a cloudy day when few butterflies would be expected I saw my first female all-white Orange Tip of the year flying over and settling briefly on some Stinging Nettles on the verges of the Coombes Road between Cuckoo's Corner and Ladywells. Over the verge of Red Campion, Cow Parsley and Garlic Mustard at Ladywells there was a male Orange Tip chasing a Green-veined White around and a Speckled Wood. At Cuckoo's Corner a Large White Butterfly flew over.
Adur Butterfly List 2009

23 April 2009
Green Alkanet Garlic Mustard Green-veined White and Orange-tip

A flock of seven Swallows flew over the River Adur south of Cuckoo's Corner. From a Hawthorn thicket under the Swallows swooping to and fro, a Willow Warbler was singing.
Over the verges of the Waterworks Road there was a Large White Butterfly, two male Orange-tips, a definite Green-veined White, with a Peacock Butterfly on the steps in the nearby Butterfly Copse. The Rhingia hoverflies visited the flowers of the Green Alkanet. There was a handful of Small Whites at Cuckoo's Corner, and on the verges near Ladywells just to the north a Comma Butterfly flew amongst the diseased Elms, and a Green-veined White waited on a flowering Garlic Mustard and attracted an amorous male Orange-tip.
Adur Butterfly List 2009

13 April 2009
In the late afternoon, my first Holly Blue Butterfly of the year was seen fluttering over a garden overlooking the Waterworks Road. Two or three male Orange-tip Butterflies were seen over the Waterworks Road with a few Speckled Woods and one yellow Brimstone Butterfly in the distance. A colourful Jay flew into the trees. A Red Admiral Butterfly flew over the Red Lion public house.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

7 April 2009
My first Swallow of 2009 flew over the Cuckoo's Corner inlet at 10:40 am.

6 April 2009
In the early afternoon, I made a passage visit to the Waterworks Road, where a handful of Green-veined White Butterflies were seen immediately together with a Brimstone Butterfly and a Comma Butterfly as well as the first male Orange-tip Butterfly of 2009. Peacock Butterflies were seen during the day on the outskirts of Shoreham. It was a Common Bee-Fly, Bombylius major, that landed on the steps of the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

5 April 2009
The first four confirmed Green-veined White Butterflies of the year were seen on the verges of Waterworks Road with a Brimstone Butterfly, and a Peacock Butterfly sparring with a Comma Butterfly. Five species were seen on a day of frequent butterflies.

Dotted Bee-fly
Ground Ivy
Dotted Bee-fly
Ground Ivy
Cuckoo Flower

There were frequent Dotted Bee-flies hovering in mid-air and visiting Ground Ivy on the Coastal Link Cyclepath near the Cement Works. On the estuary at low tide two Shelducks were feeding on the mud south of the Toll Bridge with two Oystercatchers feeding on the tideline.
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Dotted Bee-flies 2009
Dotted Bee-flies Information

Brimstone Butterfly on the verges of the Waterworks Road30 March 2009
The Waterworks Road and Butterfly Copse area produced five Peacock Butterflies, two Brimstone Butterflies and one Comma Butterfly in about three minutes.

29 March 2009
The first Sloethorn of the year was seen in flower on the side of the Coastal Link Cyclepath a few metres south of  Old Shoreham Toll Bridge. My first definite Red-tailed Bumblebee of 2009 visited a Common Daisy on the footpath section of the Waterworks Road.

28 March 2009

Cyclepath south of Old Shoreham

The sun shined briefly after midday followed by rain. There were a few of the commoner hoverflies around.

20 March 2009
A Brimstone Butterfly settled for a fraction of a second on a solitary Dandelion flower on the verges of the Waterworks Road (footpath section) but otherwise flew strongly to and fro along the hedgerow, to the west, without settling. Between six to eight Comma Butterflies were seen in scattered locations, most of them on the Coastal Link Cyclepath at the Upper Beeding end, where two Peacock Butterflies flew past as I cycled to Botolphs and back.
Adur Butterfly List 2009
Comma on the Waterworks Road verges

Coltsfoot was in flower on the verges of the Coastal Link Cyclepath south of  Upper Beeding.

16 March 2009

Lesser Celandine Lesser Celandine and Sweet Violets on the verges of the Coombes Road north of Ladywells

There were hundreds of Common Gulls on the ploughed field north of Cuckoo's Corner and others resting on the flooded River Adur at high tide. Lesser Celandine was beginning to flower although some in shadier areas the flowers had not yet opened. A few Forget-me-Nots were seen in passing. Three Comma Butterflieswere recorded, on on the Coombes Road, literally, north of Ladywells, one in the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road, and the third one over the top of Mill Lane in Shoreham. None of them settled long enough for a photograph.
Adur Butterfly List 2009

15 March 2009
With first signs of spring, catkins and Cherry trees in flower, the first sightings of a Comma Butterfly north of Old Shoreham on the western end of the Field Maple footpath to the Waterworks Road, and another surprise came with a Peacock Butterfly resting on the steps of the Butterfly Copse near the Waterworks Road. These were both firsts of the year. There were further vanessids, probably Commas nearby.
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

9 March 2009
A male Pheasant strutted over the shingle beach immediately to the east of the beach huts on the south side of the road by the Church of the Good Shepherd on the Shoreham-Lancing border. It was a surprise location to disturb a Pheasant which then flew off over Widewater towards New Monks Farm.

5 March 2009

The Mute Swans were feeding on the grass below the high tide mark
Miller's Stream with Mill Hill in the background

Two Grey Herons took off from Miller's Stream, north of Old Shoreham (and on the same latitude as the former Waterworks House).

1 March 2009
There were two Oystercatchers feeding over the mud flats south of the Toll Bridge with hundreds of gulls.

The gulls were mostly a mixture of Common Gulls and Black-headed Gulls, with frequent Herring Gulls and occasional Greater Black-backed Gulls.

26 February 2009
There was a flock of Chaffinches of at least a dozen finches flitting around the lower branches of the trees and shrubs at Cuckoo's Corner and smaller flocks of Blue Tits nearby on the woody verges of the Coombes Road. There were a few Buff-tailed Bumblebees buzzing around.

An Elm Tree log and branches were floating in the inlet by Cuckoo's Corner and the dead barkless tree broken off at the trunk two-thirds of the way up could be seen at the western end of the inlet overlooking the river at high tide.

25 February 2009
A pair of Teals, Anas crecca supspecies crecca, at high tide in the middle of the River Adur to the west of the Footbridge did not stick their head under water in their usual way, so they were not recognised at first.


Common Gulls over the River Adur24 February 2009
I spotted my first bumblebee of the year, a Buff-tailed Bumblebee at the western end of the Toll Bridge over the towpath that runs adjacent to Shoreham Airport. There were hundreds of Common Gulls on the mud flats and fields near Cuckoo's Corner as is usual at this time of the year. A few Great Tits were noted on the dead Buddleia on the verges of the Coastal Link Cyclepath south of the Toll Bridge.

19 February 2009
A handful of chirms of Goldfinches up to a dozen birds strong were seen, notably at Cuckoo's Corner. On a day of the usual birds, nothing newsworthy, a small flock of Long-tailed Tits were seen on the Coastal Link Cyclepath south of the Toll Bridge. A flock of Lapwings over a hundred strong rose from the mudflats on the south side of the river at low tide opposite Coronation Green.

7 February 2009
A Dunnock (or Hedge Sparrow) was noticed in the bushes next to the newly tarmaced Coastal Link Cyclepath south of the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham. This is a common bird, hardly newsworthy, but there was nothing much around on a clear day. Gorse was in flower north of the Tollbridge.

4 February 2009
Birds noticed on the Coastal Link Cyclepath amongst the mud and puddles were frequent Robins and Blackbirds, and amongst the Sea Purslane at low tide seen from the towpath route at least one Stonechat. Mole Hills were frequently seen on the towpath north of Cuckoo's Corner. The usual Black-backed Gulls were on the mud flats with Redshanks, Grey Plovers, Dunlins, one flying Little Egret, a perched Cormorant and other waders and gulls.

2 February 2009

 Sheep in the meadow below (west of) Mill Hill.

19 January 2009
It was interesting to note a Stonechat, Saxicola torquata, flitting to a fro over the Adur fringes at the southern end of the Footbridge. It alternatively flew from a bush on the edge of the river to the concrete side of the bridge, with occasionally forays landing on the Sea Purslane at low tide

18 January 2009
There were a couple of Oystercatchers on the river's edge north of the Railway Viaduct at high tide.

15 January 2009
In the bushes adjacent to the Coastal Link Cyclepath between Old Shoreham Toll Bridge and Ropetackle I observed a few of the omnipresent Pied Wagtails, a small flock of Long-tailed Tits flitting from shrub to bare tree, and a handful of Meadow Pipits.

Adur Estuary Reports 2008

Adur Levels Reports 2008

Cuckoo's Corner Reports

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2009 web pages