ADUR VALLEY
NATURE NOTES 2001
AREA MAP 
(ADUR VALLEY & DOWNS)
Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2004 Index page
Link to Adur Valley Nature Notes 2003
 
Link to the Adur Levels habitats page

Link to the Adur tidal reaches habitats web page

Link to the chalkhill Downs habitats pages

Link to Town & Gardens habitats page

Link to the Sea and Seashore habitats page

Link to web pages


 
 
 
 Chalk Downs
 Coastal Fringe
 Intertidal (Seashore)
 Lancing Ring
 River Adur Estuary
 River Adur 
 Sea (off Sussex)
 Town & Gardens
 Widewater Lagoon
 Shermanbury (Adur Valley)
British Dragonfly Society Link
 Spring Dyke next to the Miller's
 Stream (Adur Levels)
Hogweed

 
 
 
 

 

Adur Valley Wildlife 2004

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

The river is build up on both sides through the low-lying flood plain and their are few marshes or wetlands aside the river. There are pleasant walks on the towpaths on both sides of the river, from Shoreham-by-Sea to Bramber, with the passage passable for bicycles, if you can put up with lifting your bicycle over a few stiles.
Oak Tree
 Willow Tree near Old Erringham
 Oak Trees on the verge near Coombes were losing their leaves, some brown, some green



 
 

Link to the Adur Levels Reports 2005

WILDLIFE REPORTS 2004 
 

Could this burrow be a fox's den?7 December 2004
An unseasonal 12.3 ºC prompted me a visit Spring Dyke next to Miller's Stream 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, almost pristine.

10 November 2004
Oak Trees on the road verge near Coombes were losing their leaves, some brown, some green, and a Green Woodpecker was recognised by its familiar dipping flight, but there was nothing of remotely special note on a round trip from Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes road via Botolphs and back along the Coastal Link cyclepath.
A Slime Mould, Mucilago ?White Dead Nettles were common, Herb Robert, Common Mallow, Tufted Vetch, Sow Thistles were seen in flower, with the occasional Bramble flower, a small clump of Gorse and the white Snowberrries, red Rosehips and abundant Haws. There were a few Sulphur Tuft mushrooms on a tree near Ladywells on the Coombes road. Lichens and mosses grew on the trees, but I have not studied these life forms. 
There looked like some washed out Mucilago crustacea (a slime mould) which even at its best looks like scrambled egg (the plasmodium which matures as minute dry fruiting bodies enclosing a powdery spore mass) over the grass and vegetation. 
Mucilago Discussion on UK Wildlife

8 -9 November 2004
In the damp Field Maple leaf litter and tree stumps on the footpath (between the Waterworks Road and the Steyning Road, several mushrooms new to this area were discovered. These included a Wood Blewit, Lepista nuda.
Full Report
Common Ink CapFungi of Shoreham

4 November 2004
On the footpath (between the Waterworks Road and the Steyning Road, the Shaggy Pholiata were not be seen* and all but two of the Common Ink Caps were broken. This is a rarely used footpath and both fungi were in the middle of the path. Instead there were at least four clumps of what appeared to be Sulphur Tuft, growing from a moss-lined tree stump imbedded in the soil and leaf litter. There may be a few pine stumps amongst the Field Maple. (*The Shaggy Pholoita had been broken off and were later found discarded.)
 
 
Sulphur Tuft Sulphur Tuft

2 November 2004
Common Ink CapsUnderneath the Field Maple on a footpath (between the Waterworks Road and the Steyning Road the first mushrooms seen were Clavulina and Clavaria miniature white fungi followed by a group of three Common Ink Caps, Coprinus atramentarius, and then more of these prominent mushrooms around the tree roots, followed by two early Shaggy Parasols, Macrolepiota rhacodes, on the path.
Full Report and Images
Adur Fungi: Fruiting Bodies (Monthly Guide)

21 October 2004
At the western edge of Adur Recreation Ground, the White Poplar had already lost most of its leaves (a few silvery leaves could be seen on its crown when viewed from due east), whereas at the same time last year they mostly adorned the distinctive tree. 

5 October 2004
With anything fluttering in the breeze likely to be a falling leaf, there were just two butterflies seen, both good condition Red Admirals. The large bright blue banded dragonflies that I had unfounded doubts over their identity were Emperor Dragonflies as one was persistently preying on small insects at the southern end of the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham. It stayed around around long enough to recognise its markings. A handful of Common Darters were seen. 
Fungi again appeared on the rotten log by the road layby on the Coastal Link Cyclepath. The suggested species is Agrocybe aegerita (= A. cylindracea). They looked decidedly unappetising. The mushrooms had a stalk growing out of the wood to 100 mm long and a cap diameter of up to 110 mm. 
Solitary mushroom amongst the leaf litterPrevious Report and Images

4 October 2004
The designated footpath (between the Waterworks Road and the Steyning Road, Old Shoreham) produced a solitary mushroom amongst the leaf litter of Field Maple. It stood upright 80 mm above the ground in the middle of the path. It gills were white, with a cap diameter of 55 mm, and it is shown in the photograph on the right. This species is Oudemansiella radicata.

Full Report with More Images

26 September 2004
Broken mushroom in the soil poking through the leaf litter under a canopy of Field MapleOn the footpath (between the Waterworks Road and the Steyning Road, Old Shoreham) under a canopy of Field Maple a strange mushroom poked out of the leaf litter. Its gills had a pale blue-grey hue which is unusual. By the following day, the gills had turned black after the rain. This Ink Cap has not been identified to species.
Full Report and Images
Fungi of Shoreham

22 September 2004
The paler blue slightly large dragonfly was tricky to identify as they flew past at high speed over the Coombes Road near the Sussex Pad. This is probably an Emperor Dragonfly

19 September 2004
On the cyclepath on the old railway line south-east of the Toll Bridge the mangy Fox that was seen on 16 September 2004 made another daytime appearance, turning its head before casually ambling off in the undergrowth that backs on to the houses in Brighton Road, Shoreham. 
The same dragonflies seen earlier in the month flew rapidly, a large dragonfly, probably a male Emperor Dragonfly, one or two Migrant Hawkers and a few Common Darters.
Ripe blackberries fell off the Bramble bush at the softest touch. Grasshoppers were docile (at 17.2° C) and lacked their summer activity under the cloudy sky. One pink flower (in the photograph on the left) stood out in an unkept field to the east of South Downs Link cyclepath. It is a Musk Mallow and is not on the local flora list and is not recorded locally in the Sussex Plant Atlas. (A shed has now been erected on top of this plant in 2005.)
A few Swallows flew overhead. Chiffchaffs were calling and flying from bush to bush. 
Extra Images

8 September 2004
The Coastal Link cyclepath north of Old Shoreham hosted a few Red Admiral Butterflies, scores of Small White Butterflies, one Painted Lady; just the three species of butterfly
South-east of the Toll Bridge there were more of the same, a Red Admiral defended its territory near the railway buffer, and losing out temporarily to an immigrant Painted Lady. A new addition to the day list was just one Common Blue Butterfly
Adur Butterfly and Large Moth List 2004
 
 
Sloe Berries from the Blackthorn Bush near Old Erringham next to the old Steyning Road

Dragonflies were the highlight of the cyclepath, in quick succession a male Emperor Dragonfly, a large dragonfly, possibly a female Emperor or Southern Hawker, a few Migrant Hawkers and the inevitable Common Darters.

3 September 2004
An air temperature at 24.1 ºC  at 1:10 pm seems to indicate an Indian summer, with blackberriers working holiday time in the pleasant sunshine with scarcely a breeze.

On the Coastal Link cyclepath north of Old Shoreham, a bright yellow Brimstone Butterfly fluttered around the Buddleia. The small hoverfly Dasysyrphys albostriatus was also discovered, but identified until later. 
The handsome dark blue of a Migrant Hawker Dragonfly was seen on New Monks Farm behind the Withy Patch. 
Full Butterfly & Moth Report
Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies
Adur Hoverflies

21 August 2004
Birds everywhere are on the move, with flocks of Starlings of over one hundred over the Hasler Estate (north of Widewater) and three Wheatears flying around Widewater car park east, before embarking on their long migration south.
A Painted Lady Butterfly fluttered on the edge of Adur Recreation Ground. A few Pied Wagtails were noticeable on the grass verges. 

19 August 2004
A flock of over twenty Goldfinches brightened up an overcast day on the Coastal Link Cyclepath south of the Cement Works.
Just the second magnificent site of a female Emperor Dragonfly this year, flying to and fro under the canopy of the Butterfly Copse (TQ 209 063) near the Waterworks Road, with over a dozen Common Darters being slightly furtive. Another large blue dragonfly was seen which was probably an Emperor Dragonfly. A few brighter Red Admirals and a Painted Lady were around in a year that has seen very few migrant butterflies. 
Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies
Adur Butterfly and Large Moth List 2004

Willow gall produced by the Pontamia species of sawfly11 August 2004
A large blue dragonfly was hawking over the Willow Tree area (behind the Withy Patch) of New Monks Farm, Lancing. At first I thought it was an Emperor Dragonfly because of its size, but the markings were more black than blue, so I think this must be a Migrant Hawker, Aeshna mixta
Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies

c. 4 August 2004
There were 16 Glow-worms recorded on the Coastal Link cyclepath by the flyover. 

Report by John Knight (WSCC Rural Strategy Unit)
      
21 July 2004
3-spined Sticklebacks are much handsomer than the 10-spined Sticklebacks, especially when the larger of the two freshwater native species are in their breeding colours, in a stream by an Oak Tree next to the South Links cyclepath north of Botolphs. This stream borders Saltings Field.

They could be seen with Whirligig Beetles and Water Skaters on the surface in a patch of clear water. There was a red Ruddy Darter on the bank next to what looks like a set-aside field full of Ragwort and Creeping Thistles. There was an umbellifer in the stream itself rising above the shallow (30 cm depth) water. A Moorhen ran across the dense vegetation, including the floating Duckweed, that covered 98% of the stream. This water bird disappeared and could not be seen on the edge; this was despite the Environment Agency having just mechanically removed most of the the streamside vegetation.

Ruddy Darter

There was the first record of a Ruddy Darter, Sympetrum sanguineum, on these Nature Notes pages from this stream. This dragonfly has probably been overlooked before and mistaken for a Common Darter

Images Web Page

19 July 2004
The sudden appearance of a Peacock Butterfly was a bit if a surprise, in the narrow field next to the stream by the Steyning Road (TQ 209 068). 
Adur Butterfly List 2004

The large accumulation of fungi on a rotten log on the cyclepath north of Old Shoreham, by the road layby, was less so. The suggested species is Agrocybe aegerita (= A. cylindracea) which grows on wood, whereas Agrocybe praecox grows on wood chips.


 
 
 

Fungi of Shoreham

29 June 2004
Between 4 and 7 (some may have been counted twice) Marbled White Butterflies fluttered lazily around on the verges off the cyclepath just south of the Cement Works at Upper Beeding. This is the first record from this area on the Nature Notes pages.
I also recorded one example of the Nettle-leaved Bellflower, Campanula trachelium, and it seems this is the fourth species of bellflower that is naturalised locally, and they all may be garden escapes. However, this species is listed as a local plant.
Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea

Common Blue Damselfly

There were at least two Common Blue Damselflies in a field by the River Adur with 50+ Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies at Annington (north-west of Botolphs). 
Butterfly Report

There was a Burnet Moth with a striking blue striped abdomen flying between the thistles in the narrow field next to the stream by the Steyning Road (TQ 209 068).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.
Message from Trevor Boyd on UK Leps
Report with Image
Adur Burnet Moths

21 June 2004
Hoverfly (Bumblebee mimic?)This hoverfly 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).
Adur Hoverflies
A couple of Common Darters were present in thistle-overgrown field as well. 
Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies
Beware of the possible (not confirmed) Giant Hogweed, Heracleum mantegazzianum, in this area. This huge plant exudes a sap which can cause severe and untreatable dermatitis. 
Adur Hogweeds

9 June 2004
Bee OrchidA Stoat surprised me with an acrobatic U-shaped jump as it bounded away from the wooden shed (used to store horse feed) in the horse's field immediately to the west of the entrance of the Waterworks House, Old Shoreham (at the foot of Mill Hill). This area has been known to provide a habitat for Stoats but this is still the first record since these Nature Notes pages were started in 1998. The Bee Orchid was photographed in the same field. 
On the Waterworks Road there was one Small White Butterfly, one Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly and one Red Admiral Butterfly. In the Butterfly Copse (TQ 209 063), there was one Speckled Wood Butterfly. On the cyclepath north of the Toll Bridge, just one faded Painted Lady Butterfly was seen in a brief visit. 
 
 
 

Ruddy DarterThe thistles were over a metre high in the narrow field next to the stream by the Steyning Road (TQ 209 068) 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
Adur Dragonfly Flight Times

26 May 2004
I was not sure if it it was two or three species of damselfly I was viewing over the 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. 

Large Red Damselfly

The other species, the Large Red Damselfly, Pyrrhosoma 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 & Dragonflies
Adur Levels 2004

25 May 2004
A dozen or more Common Blue Butterflies flew amongst the tall vegetation on the verge of the cyclepath near the abandoned Beeding (Shoreham) Cement Works. It was difficult to be sure of their numbers as many would be successfully hiding.

Common Blue Butterfly

Common Blue Butterfly

The Common Carder Bee was again spotted south-east of the South Downs Bridge (over the River Adur) when it may have been mistaken for larger and commoner bumblebees before. 

23 May 2004
On the Waterworks Road near the Butterfly Copse (TQ 209 063) a Speckled Wood Butterfly settled and there was another Speckled Wood in the ivy and nettle copse itself.

 

On the edge of the horse's field on the south-west approaches of Mill Hill, (south of the A27 main road), on the pile of dung next to the footpath two clumps of about 20 mushrooms were growing. The first suggested identity is Conocybe rickenii or a close species.

Fungi of Shoreham
Adur Fungi: Fruiting Bodies (Monthly Guide) 
 
22 May 2004
Perched on the top of a Hawthorn, the colourful red breast of a Linnet was a pleasing change from the omnipresent House Sparrows on the path South-east of Old Shoreham Toll Bridge. Northward, between the Toll Bridge and A27 Flyover, the first four male Orange Tip Butterflies fluttered rapidly out of photographic range. There was single Azure Damselfly, Coenagrion puella, and at least one Holly Blue Butterfly and there were probably many more of both species of butterfly. Another Sedge Warbler was seen flying between a gap in the blossoming Hawthorn that borderss both sides of the path like a hedgerow. 

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.

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. 
Adur Damselflies & Dragonflies
British Dragonfly Society

On the cyclepath to the north of  the flyover, I spotted the colourful orange wing tips of the male Orange Tip Butterfly twice in succession. The attendant whites are thought to be their suitors. This is the first time this species of butterfly has been recorded in this area. It is not really a surprise because they have been seen previously at Cuckoo's Corner and the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
Warblers were warbling (there seems to be at least two different calls) in the shrubbery. According to experienced birdwatcher Alan, there were both Reed Warblers and Sedge Warblers. I noticed a pretty bird with a reddish hue fly rapidly (direct like a Wren) through a clearing in the bushes and this I have put down as my first tick for a Sedge Warbler

12 May 2004
Scores of House Martins filled the sky over the Adur Levels, notably over the fields north of Cuckoo's Corner

10 May 2004
At the foot of the South Downs Way path as it crosses the Steyning to Shoreham road, my first Orange Tip Butterfly of the year fluttered by, the flicker of the orange wing tips of the male pleasing to observe. On the cyclepath from the South Downs Way Bridge (over the River Adur) to Old Shoreham, there was at least one Brimstone Butterfly, several Small White Butterflies, at least one Holly Blue Butterfly that caught my attention as I cycled slowly along. 
Adur Butterflies
Adur Butterfly List 2004
Orange-tip Butterflies (Donegal)

6 May 2004
There were two Coots in Burwell's Farm pond (TQ 197 063) on the early approaches to Lancing College.

2 May 2004
TheCowslips in the field to the east of Hoe Court Cottages, north Lancing (on the route from the Sussex Pad to Lancing Clump) are now there in abundance, whereas they had not showed on 16 April 2004

Report by June Brown
28 April 2004
There was a handsome Peacock Butterfly at Cuckoo's Corner. Two Speckled Woods, a handful of Small Whites, a few Small Tortoiseshells, mostly orange and slightly faded, but one reddish one, all around Botolphs. There were over a hundred clumps of Cowslips on the grass by the cyclepath between Old Shoreham and Shoreham Cement Works. In a ditch by the cyclepath the Water Crowfoot, Ranunculus peltatus, was identified by its flower and leaves. A couple of pairs of Goldfinches brought some added colour from amongst the small trees that lined the cyclepath. 
There was thunder rumbling over the distant downs to the east.

27 April 2004
It 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.   It was probably a hen Pheasant. It looked incongruous by the waterside, but Pheasants are known from the adjoining fields. 
Full Report
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.

Fungi ID by Jean J Wuilebaut on Fungi of the British Isles (Yahoo Group)
24 April 2004
I flushed a couple of red partridges hiding up in some cleared trees on New Monks Farm adjacent to the private road on the western edge of this large wasted area. The birds, which were distinctly red, flew off rapidly towards the east. I have belatedly identified these birds as Common Grey Partridges.

23 April 2004
A male Orange Tip Butterfly and a Green-veined White Butterfly were seen in my Shermanbury garden. The Dripping Tap Bird (Coal Tit) is very noisy with its non-stop dripping sounds. This is not as annoying as the Rooks in the trees. A female Pheasant has a nest in a bush. I have heard scratching from the bush from where I nearly stepped on her a few days ago. The male Pheasant strolled about just outside the back patio doors.

Report by Allen Pollard on the Adur Valley EForum Upper Adur East (Shermanbury Area) Nature Pages
 
19 April 2004
There were at least 30 clumps of Cowslips on the cyclepath between Old Shoreham and Shoreham Cement Works, with other prominent plants in flower including Green Alkanet with its blue flowers, and the plentiful Daffodils, Bluebells, Lesser Celandine and Dandelions
 
 
Cowslips on the verge of the cyclepath
Green Alkanet

In one stream, the Water Crowfoot, Ranunculus sp., was beginning to unveil its white flowers. 
Adur Freshwater Streams and Ditches
Adur Freshwater Links Page

Speckled Wood Butterfly16 April 2004
The first Speckled Wood Butterfly of the year was recorded on the footpath between the Lancing College entrance road going towards Hoe Court Cottages on the route to Lancing Clump. There were no Cowslips to be seen this year (yet) in the field on the north side of this footpath.
Adur Butterflies
Adur Butterfly List 2004

15 April 2004
A hoverfly, possibly Syrphus ribesii settled amongst the Stinging Nettles and other wild flowers on the Waterworks Road. It was just one of the many flying insects out in the sunshine as the temperature reached 17.6 ºC.
More Information and Photographs

13 April 2004
A Long-tailed Tit in a bright plumage flew a metre or so in front of me and then landed in a bush at the entrance of the layby near Withy Patch, Lancing. I usually think of this tiny bird as one in small flocks of a dozen or more birds in winter only as I have not seen signs of their large nests in local trees. Fifteen minutes later I spotted the silhouette of another one flying between the bushes south-east of Old Shoreham Toll Bridge
 

Great Spotted Woodpecker in 2002 (Photograph by Allen Pollard)4 April 2004
A Great Spotted Woodpecker made a visit to my Shermanbury garden despite there being no food on offer. 

Report by Allen Pollard on the Adur Valley EForum Upper Adur East (Shermanbury area) Nature Pages
 
2 April 2004
Tottington Wood south-east of Small Dole provided the first Comma Butterfly of the year, together with a couple of snakes curled up on a bank in the sun. These were not identified but thought to be Adders.
Report by Allen Pollard via the UK-Leps EForum
On the cyclepath  north of Old Shoreham just before the disused Cement Works at Beeding, I noticed the first yellow Cowslips in flower. The Robin Redbreast was present and allowing for the individual territories the number of birds seemed to be at a greater density than would be found in suburban gardens. 
 


 

31 March 2004
I saw my first Small White Butterfly of the year, south-east of the Toll Bridge, in the sunshine by the eroded chalk riverbank and my first bright yellow Brimstone Butterfly at Cuckoo's Corner.

30 March 2004
Two lizards rapidly skittered into cover at the base of the flint walls south-east of the Toll Bridge amongst the grass on the river sunny side in mid-afternoon. These lizards appear to be the same species found at the Old Fort (Shoreham Beach) and I have penned these as the the Common (or Viviparous) Lizard, Zootoca vivipara. There were probably many more lizards but the old flint sea wall was a ruin with innumerable hiding places for small reptiles. 
About 40 Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies settled on the bare chalk south-east of the Toll Bridge and these butterflies had a tendency towards redness in colour. One pair danced around each other and flew over to the airport side of the river, covering the 100 metres width of the estuary (at low tide) in a few seconds. 
Adur Butterfly List 2004
 
The road verges by Lancing Manor and the Withy Patch were adorned with yellow profusions of Dandelions and Lesser Celandine and blue patches of Germander Speedwell. It looked like the first emergence of spring in the blue cloudless sky, with the buzzing of the Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, and a small red multi-spotted ladybird. (pic)
The ladybird has now been identified as a red colour variety of the Ten-spotted Ladybird, Adalia decempunctata. The books usually shows it as an orangey-yellow ladybird. 

ID by Paul Mabbott & John Muggleton on British Beetles Yahoo Group Ladybird Images
 
28 March 2004
Perhaps a partridge at Partridge Green should be regarded as ordinary, and this one was seen at Bines Bridge where the B2135 road crosses the Adur one mile to the south, and in an area of wetland countryside. This plump bird was not identified by species but could have been the native Grey Partridge, the introduced Red-legged (French) Partridge, or the Chukar, another introduced species. 
Report by Mike Burtt I have only seen the Common Partridge in the urban coastal area (Andy Horton). 
 
Partridge Green derives its name from John Partrych who was the owner of the green around 1300, and one source has conjectured that his name meant that he was a hunter of partridges.

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 GMT 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. (The book size says it is no bigger than a Kestrel.)
Moorhens seemed to more numerous than in previous years, a handful noted on the ploughed fields to the south-east of Cuckoo's Corner. For virtually the whole of this month there has been a score or more Moorhens in the private (Lancing College) field next to Ladywell Stream on the west side of the Coombes Road (see the photograph above). 

22 March 2004
The first Brimstone Butterfly of the year fluttered in my Shermanbury garden.
The Lapwings have flown from the lower Adur estuary and are now looking for breeding areas further inland, e.g. in the lowland fields near Shermanbury, where some breeding areas are disturbed by grazing cattle.

Report by Allen Pollard via the UK-Leps EForum (Brimstone only) Upper Adur East (Shermanbury area) Nature Pages
Adur Butterflies
In the woods on the Mill Hill slopes on the eastern side of the Waterworks Road, the Jew's Ear Fungus, Hirneola auricola-judae, was still fruiting, although large masses had turned into a gooey mess. 
There were a pair of Mallards in the polluted stream amongst the Macrocarpa (Monterey Cypress Trees) row in the Adur Riverbank Industrial Estate (north of the railway line, north of Ropetackle, Shoreham). (TQ 210 053). 
 
17 March 2004
Two pairs of Great Spotted Woodpeckers chased their partners around the tree tops opposite Cuckoo's Corner (TQ 202 067) 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. This was the first time I had seen more than one of these woodpeckers at the same time. There woodpeckers chased each other up the tree trunks and flew from the larger branches to another tall tree seen amongst the bare branches until they were hidden amongst the ivy. There were a mixture of mature and decaying trees and this would seem a likely breeding area for these attractive birds. 
There was a lot of bird song along the Coombes road, one call a very harsh single squeal that stood out amongst the melodies and clicking calls. I have no idea what bird can make such a noise? 

14 March 2004
Three white rumped deer were spotted in the fields overlooked by Lancing College and close to Ricardo's test strip (east of the Coombes road at its traffic lights junction with the A27) at around 10:00 am. Roe Deer are frequently seen around the Adur Levels and these fitted the book description.

Report by Ray Hamblett on Lancing Nature Notes
29 February 2004
A Merlin (small bird of prey) was seen being chased by a Black-headed Gull before it descended into the reed beds near Shoreham Airport.
Report by Christian Melgar on the Sussex Birds Yahoo Group

25 February 2004
It the last few days, every single species of the regular birds were seen in their usual or larger numbers in all habitats in the lower Adur valley, except I did not catch sight of the brilliant blue wings of a Kingfisher until today, arrowing over the polluted stream amongst the Macrocarpa (Monterey Cypress Trees) row in the Adur Riverbank Industrial Estate (north of the railway line, north of Ropetackle, Shoreham) where the waste land and cyclepath of the old railway track meets the town. (TQ 210 053). A Kingfisher was seen in the same area last winter

Hedgerow north of Ladywell's on the Coombes Road
Hedgerows are not an extensive feature of the downs in Adur 
but can be found bordering country roads

There was a small flock of half a dozen Song Thrushes in the reeds and bushes at the northern end of Shoreham Airport runway. Song Thrushes are regulars in this area, but they are usually single birds singing to their mate. 
(There is a possibility that these were Redwings that tend to occur in flocks. On the face of it the latter would seem more likely, but they looked more like Song Thrushes to me? The other explanation could be that single Redwings &/or Fieldfares were venturing into gardens?)

13 February 2004
The cyclepath from Old Shoreham northwards was still muddy and lacking anything of special interest. Everything was rather sombre and lacking in sparkle. Robin Redbreasts, Blue Tits and Wrens were the most noticeable of birds.

Lancing College reflected in the river

And there were Mallards, two Little Grebes and Black-headed Gulls on the mid-tide River Adur.
Adur Estuary 2004

7 February 2004
A single House Martin was seen flying low up the River Adur this afternoon at 3:00 pm just south of the Toll Bridge for five minutes or so before heading up the Adur Valley. This is an extraordinary early record for this summer migrant.Report by Bob Kent (Lancing) on the Sussex Birds Yahoo Group The Evening Argus reported a Pike of 13 kg (28 lb 12 oz) caught by Joe Raczkowski from the freshwater reaches of the River Adur
Comment: It seems inconceivable to me that these fish could grow to this size in the confines of the Adur and were almost certainly introduced as already large fish. Large Pike were caught in the other rivers of Sussex by the same angler. 
29 January 2004
A family of three Foxes were playing in the open field immediately to the north of the Waterworks House (and the wooded land that surrounded it), north of Old Shoreham, and could be seen from the ridge of Mill Hill.

Report by Jan Hamblett (Lancing Nature)
Unusual, but not incongruous or even unexpected, a flock of fifty Lapwings were settled on the horse's field immediately to the south of Mill Hill Nature Reserve and south of the A27. As usual there were Crows, at least thirty in the same verdant field and nine Pied Wagtails were counted.At the Withy Patch there was a small chirm of about five Goldfinches and other birds singing in the bushes in the late afternoon. 
A Barn Owl flew in the early morning light (7:20 am) over New Monks Farm, Lancing, near the Withy Patch layby. Owl Report by Richard Ives on Sussex Ornithological Society News NB: There have been several reports of this bird from different observers and it appears to be a regular at dawn and dusk. (It was seen again by Richard Ives on 9 February 2004.)
New Monks Farm 2004 
23 January 2004
Dreary and drab with just a trace of decay: is there a single descriptive word that describes a rather dull and dismal cycle ride along the Coombes road to Botolphs back along the cyclepath on the east side of river? It was also dank in the air and underfoot, the dull and doleful scene scarcely improved by a scattering of Moorhens in the fields next to the Ladywell Stream (between Cuckoo's Corner and Coombes) and a small chirm of Goldfinches near the disused Cement Works. 
It was a dreich day.
The handsome flock of black and white Jacob sheep in a pasture west of Botolphs would have gone unmentioned on a less depressing day. They trotted away when I took the camera out. 
Fungi of the Coombes Road (Supplementary)
MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and the Downs

Sussex Woody Species Identification Guide

21 January 2004
Blackbirds (20+) followed by Robin Redbreasts (4+) were the commonest birds on the Downslink cyclepath north of the Toll Bridge towards Upper Beeding and Bramber.
Extra Report

18 January 2004
We visited the bird watching hide at Wood's Mill Nature Reserve, Small Dole, (HQ of the Sussex Wildlife Trust) and at first there was nothing to see but after a short while we were delighted to see a Siskin and a Tree Creeper and a Nuthatch.
This was the first time we had been to Woods Mill since the redesign of the main lake.

Report by Roy Bratton via Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature) on the
Adur Valley Biodiversity "Smart Group"
6 January 2004
In the stroud by the Withy Patch, New Monks Farm, Lancing, the Jew's Ear Fungus, Hirneola auricola-judae, was beginning to turn gooey. 
 
 
Jew's Ear
probably Stereum
 
There was another white fungus or lichen on the trunk of a living tree amongst the prevalent rotten wood. 
Fungi of Lancing (by Ray Hamblett)

1 January 2004
GorseWith very little colour and green vegetation on the Downslink cyclepath, and patches of standing water and mud, sometimes the shyer birds make their presence known, but there was very little to see, Blue Tits were noticeable and a few Moorhens in the fields on the west side of the river next to Ladywell Stream (near Cuckoo's Corner, on the Coombes Road). A couple of yellow patches of Gorse stood out and the thorny stalks of the Rose Hips still held a few red berries.

Flammulina velutipes (Photograph by Andy Horton)
Clumps of Velvet Shank, Flammulina velutipes fungus were growing on at least three Elm trees to the north of Cuckoo's Corner.
This is a typical species of late autumn throughout the winter. It is a remarkable species since it has its own built in antifreeze and can go through frosts unfazed and resume dropping spores immediately afterwards. Indeed, its growth and spore production are stimulated by cold.

ID and notes by Geoffrey Kibby, Senior Editor, Field Mycology Fungi of Shoreham (with more images and information)
Adur Fungi: Fruiting Bodies (Monthly Guide)
Fungi of the British Isles (Yahoo Group)
Adur Nature Notes (January 2004)
Waterworks Road and Butterfly Copse 2004 (Link)

Freshwater Habitats
Freshwater Streams and Ditches, Lower Adur Valley

LINK TO THE ADUR LEVELS REPORTS UP TO 2003

Aerial Map
Lower Adur Levels (MultiMap) including Lancing Clump and Mill Hill
 
 

EMail for Wildlife Reports

EMail Address for sending in wildlife reports from the lower Adur valley
Contributions are welcome, especially high quality images Only a selection will be included and only reports with the name of the reporter







 
 
 
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