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 Lower River Adur
or Adur Flood Plain


The River Adur reaches the sea at Shoreham-by-Sea where the mouth has been deflected two miles to the east by the longshore drift. Going upstream with the incoming tide through the centre of New Shoreham under seven bridges before the tide reaches the village of Bramber after 6.4 km (4 miles). The river then passes about one mile east of the town of Steyning. The estuary is tidal for 17.9 km (11.1 miles) from the mouth to Bines Bridge on the B.2135.

The flood plain or levels refer to the stretch south of Bramber, where the tidal rivers meanders towards the sea, with low lying fields on each side. Public access is by the towpath each side of the river, and on the Coastal Link Cyclepath following the disused railway line. 

Spring Dyke next to the Miller's Stream 2005
Coastal Link Cyclepath 2005
Waterworks Road and Butterfly Copse 2005

Wildlife Reports

Link to Adur Levels 2006

5 December 2005 
Along the Coombes Road a few large trees had been felled. The harmful Honey Fungus was evident and on one heavily lopped tree there was a bracket fungus at least 60 cm in the diameter of its semi-circular appearance. North of Ladywells, the small patch of woodland was in a sorry state and I think there were Elms amongst the Willows and other trees, new Elms appearing by sucker growth and then dying back still as a young tree. The bark was partially peeled off on some small trees. 
One Sow Thistle was seen half open in flower on the edge of the towpath north of the Toll Bridge and adjacent to Ricardos. This yellow was the only colour amongst the undergrowth. 
Shoreham Fungi

1 December 2005

Grey Heron
On the muddy puddle-strewn path that purports to be the Coastal Link cyclepath, a Grey Heron was searching the long grass verges near the first layby (from the south) on the Steyning Road. It did not fly away with the usual panic although it attempted to fly. I was tempted to think it was injured as it found a place to hide underneath the scrub. 
On a drab day without colour, the only plants in flower were a couple of straggly half opened Sow Thistles. The leaves were stripped off the stems and I could not ascertain the precise species. 

17 November 2005
A Siskin was a surprise and the first time I had seen this small bird (smaller than a Greenfinch) in my back garden that backs on the wasteland (Coastal Link Cyclepath) and River Adur estuary opposite Shoreham Airport. The garden also supported Goldcrests recently. 

Report by Adrienne Horrocks
2 November 2005
Wood Blewitts Sulphur Tuft Sulphur Tuft

After the rain the designated footpath (between the Waterworks Road and the Steyning Road, Old Shoreham) produced a two mushrooms growing in the soil amongst the leaf litter of Field Maple: Sulphur Tuft, Hypholoma sublateritium, with gills with a blue tinge and Sulphur Tuft, Hypholoma fasciculare, with a yellow tinge to its gills (although this would not reproduce in a photograph).
Shoreham Fungi 2005

27 September 2005
The Fresh Breeze Force 4 (at 24 mph bordering on Force 5) from the south-west (224° azimuth) felt stronger and more from due south.
This wind may or may not have brought immigrant Red Admirals to Shoreham. The tally was at least nine on the Coastal Link cyclepath at the extreme southern end by the demolished railway bridge.
Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List 2005

16 September 2005
As I drove from Steyning past the Cement Works at 7.15 am I glimpsed something which looked large and interesting, but couldn't find it again when I pulled in at Dacre Gardens. I caught up with it at the Flyover and had a good view of an Osprey with a mob of Jackdaws. It continued to circle and drift down the Adur valley putting up waders and gulls below the Toll Bridge.

Report by Keith Noble (RSPB) on Sussex Ornithological Society News

1 September 2005
There was a Dryad's Saddle, Polyporus squamosus, attached to the base of a wooden sculpture on the Coastal Link cyclepath near the first layby (from the south) on the Steyning Road. 
Shoreham Fungi

27 August 2005

The first Painted Lady Butterfly of 2005 in the lower Adur valley was seen in the Butterfly Copse by the Waterworks Road.
Other butterflies in the day included a rich brown Comma Butterfly on Stinging Nettles on the Waterworks Road, a worn and battered Holly Blue on Ivy in the Butterfly Copse, with three Red Admirals, one worn and battered with a Speckled Wood. A dozen or more Large Whites over residential areas and countryside just outside of town. Green-veined Whites were frequent (8+) on the Adur Levels and Coastal Link cyclepath with a male Common Blue Butterfly in a field between the cyclepath and the River Adur. Meadow Browns were in the low frequency, about ten. 
Butterfly List for the Day
Both male and female Southern Hawkers (dragonflies) patrolled the cyclepath north of the A27 Flyover with one or two Common Darters noted. 

23 August 2005
A flock of Starlings, many very spotty and young were atttracted to the Elderflower Bushes on the Coastal Link Cyclepath 50 metres north of the Toll Bridge. There were also at least two Linnets amongst the same large bushes (almost tree size). Butterflies included a handful of both Common Blues and Meadow Browns, a half a dozen Speckled Woods, one Red Admiral, and a small blue butterfly which turned out to be a worn Brown Argus. Both male and female Southern Hawkers patrolled around the same Elderflower bushes.
Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List 2005

8 August 2005
Two Migrant Hawkers (dragonflies) patrolled over at the extreme southern end of the Coastal Link Cyclepath in the town of Shoreham-by-Sea. These were the first two of the year.

In the same area, I saw a female "blue-brown" Common Blue Butterfly followed immediately by a definite Brown Argus on Fleabane. It was accompanied by a dozen male Common Blues, a handful of Gatekeepers, one Small/Essex Skipper and a Red Admiral. There were hundreds of white butterflies in the residential areas and on the outskirts of town including both Small Whites and Large Whites. The Waterworks Road and Butterfly Copse produced three Comma Butterflies, a Small Tortoiseshell (which I did not record yesterday), another Red Admiral and Large Whites, as well as at least two Holly Blues. A few more Holly Blues, Gatekeepers and Red Admirals were seen during the day. Meadow Browns were just three in a field near Lancing College. 
Butterfly List for the Day
House Martins

There were congregation of over a hundred House Martins near Lancing College chapel. It appears they are this year's young birds almost ready to leave on their southerly migration.

A Southern Hawker (dragonfly) patrolled the Butterfly Copse, near the Waterworks Road (Old Shoreham). 

7 August 2005
The Salterns at Upper Beeding (near Bramber) is a medieval antiquity site close to the River Adur. From there we walked a little way along one of the side streams that hold far more interest than than the barren banks of the tidal river.
Butterflies seen included about 30 Gatekeeper, 2 Red Admiral, 10 Meadow Brown and single Small Tortoiseshell. Close the stream a large damselfly with very dark wings flew out of sight behind a brick building. I took this to be the Banded Demoiselle; Calopteryx splendens. Other blue damselflies were commonly seen at a distance beyond identification range. 

Emperor Dragonfly (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

The highlight was as male Emperor Dragonfly came over the stream and settled on to the grass within range of my camera.

Report and Photograph by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature
on the Adur News Blogspot

Musk Mallow was recorded in flower in a field on the Adur Levels (on the other side of the Steyning road from Spring Dyke). 

23 July 2005
Two Southern Hawker Dragonflies sparred over the Waterworks Road. Seven Comma Butterflies were seen in about three minutes. 
Report with Images

21 July 2005
A Peacock Butterfly is unusual butterfly for mid-July. The one seen briefly in the Butterfly Copse (next to the Waterworks Road) was faded, but not worn, and flew off strongly and rapidly. 
Butterfly List for the Day

15 July 2005

Bramber Castle

These two photographs of a Grass Snake and a Common Toad tell their own story.

Photographs by Brenda Collins (Lancing)

11 July 2005
An hour on the Coastal Link Cyclepath enabled me to reach the meadow verges just south of the Cement Works. The most difficult identication were the smallish yellow (underwing) and white butterflies with small spots which were positively identified positively as Green-veined Whites (18+). The other confirmed butterflies in order of prevalence were, Meadow Browns (25+), Gatekeepers (20+), Red Admiral (9), Small/Essex Skippers (7+), Comma(2), Holly Blue (1) Marbled White (1) and Wall Brown (1). 
Adur Butterfly List 2005
7 July 2005
Soldier Fly in the family Stratiomyidae
This is the genus Stratiomys. There is no yellow on the head of this specimen. This is the species Stratiomys potamidaThe yellow on the head seems to be only occur in the female (which made me doubt my original identifcation).            
It was discovered amongst the Stinging Nettles on the verges of the Waterworks Road, south of the A27 Flyover. 

Checklist of UK Recorded Stratiomyidae

7 July 2005
This hoverfly Volucella pellucens was photographed on Stinging Nettles in the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road.
ID confirmed by Bastiaan Wakkie
on UK Hoverflies

6 July 2005
An astonishing 16 Comma Butterflies were seen on the Waterworks Road (Old Shoreham) in a stretch of 100 metres, and these excluded the possibility of counting the same butterfly twice. Other butterflies seen in fifteen minutes included one Large White, one Large Skipper (confirmed), three Small (or Essex) Skippers (confirmed), two Green-veined Whites (confirmed), one Gatekeeper, one Red Admiral and three Meadow Browns

Small (or Essex) Skipper photographed near the Steyning Road (footpath at the western entrance to the Maple Spinney)
Comma Butterfly
Helophilus pendulus (a Hoverfly)

The difference in size between the the Large Skipper seen first and the Small Skipper seen a minute later was distinctive and obvious. Three more Meadow Brown Butterflies were seen on the Coastal Link Cyclepath together with four Small Tortoiseshells
Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List 2005
Adur Hoverflies

The water level of Miller's Stream was very low, not much more than a trickle.

29 June 2005
Despite being patient, I was still unable to get close enough to get a clear view of a large dragonfly with a bright yellow-white banded abdomen that patrolled the Waterworks Road, north of Old Shoreham, in bright sunlight. It moved so rapidly and darted in so many different directions, from one metre off the tarmac road surface to four metres up into the Sycamore leaves within a second or two, that I could not get a fix on it. It eventually settled after about three minutes but by the time I retrieved my binoculars I could not find it again. The dragonfly was at least 75 mm in length. Its identity remains unknown.
Have you considered immature female Southern Hawker? The coloured areas can be quite yellowish in the immature stages.

A subsequent observation of a dragonfly on Mill Hill makes me think this is a Southern Hawker.
Report of Southern Hawker (Mill Hill)
Report on the Southern Hawker (Waterworks Road)

I did get my reward of the my first ever sighting of the brilliant blue abdomen of the Banded Demoiselle, Calopteryx splendens, with its large dark wings which I could see as it settled underneath a Sycamore leaf four metres above the Stinging Nettles. It looked a bit like a butterfly at first glance until the brilliance of the blue abdomen became apparent.
Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies

17 June 2005
A strong flying yellow butterfly, seen over the Slonk Hill Cutting (south bank) and another over the Coastal Link Cyclepath between the A27 Flyover and the first road lay-by I first thought it must be a Clouded Yellow, but the absence of black around the battered wing edges convinced me that this was Brimstone Butterfly.

Roe Deer in the Elm avenue18 May 2005
Passage along the Elm avenue on New Monks Farm was interrupted in a head on confrontation with a Roe Deer wanting to proceed in my direction. After attempting to intimidate me from a distance of 50 metres or so, it veered of after 20 seconds. I nearly trod on a Common Partridge before it flew off suddenly. At the Mash Barn Lane end I saw my first blue damselfly of the year. It was probably an Azure Damselfly. The hoverfly Volucella bombylans var. plumata was seen at the same time.

15 May 2005
In the field below (west of) Mill Hill a young Roe Deer calf was suckling from her mother out in the open.*

* Action Reports by Jan Hamblett (Lancing Nature)
Deer Images (by Ray Hamblett)

2 May 2005
At 11.20 am I watched a Hoopoe fly from Henfield Brooks across the river to trees behind the marl pit north of Wyckham Wood. I walked up, flushing a pair of Garganey from the pit, but I couldn't find them again. 

Report by Keith Noble (RSPB) on Sussex Ornithological Society News

24 April 2005
As the sun found a gap in the overcast sky, a female Orange-Tip Butterfly settled on Stinging Nettles, followed by a strong flying male Orange-Tip Butterfly was much more colourful. Both were seen on the cyclepath just south of the Upper Beeding Cement Works avoided the camera flying away at least 8 mph. Also seen in the same area were a single Holly Blue followed by a single Speckled Wood
Adur Butterfly List 2005

21 April 2005

Oil Seed Rape was in flower on many of the low-lying fields on the flood plain. A tractor was going through the fields; I assume that the crop was being treated.
Oil Seed Rape Information

17 April 2005
A bird alighted half way up (at a height of about 3 metres) a narrow tree trunk at Cuckoo's Corner. I had a glimpse of it for a second before it ran around the trunk to a blind spot from my viewpoint. I noticed that its upper wing feathers were a slate grey-blue colour. My original thought was a Treecreeper, a bird I not seen on the Coombes Road for a decade or more. However, the colour hue really indicates a Nuthatch, a bird of which I am even less familiar with, not having seen one in the Shoreham area before. In the late afternoon, it was not as colourful as shown in the books. 

Can you spot the Roe Deer ?

On the Ricardo Test Bed Field (unofficial private nature reserve opposite, east of, the Sussex Pad and next to the Coombes Road, southern end) two adult Roe Deer were feeding in the open. 

16 April 2005
A female Sparrowhawk actively hunting at the southern end of the Waterworks Road in the back gardens of the houses, before the cliff descends vertically (back, west of Lesser Foxholes) was a handsome sight. I noticed the fanning of the tail feathers as it stalled before landing or striking (out of view). 
A pair of Goldfinches were flitting around the extreme southern dead end of the Coastal Link Cyclepath by the demolished bridge, viewed on the vertical bank from the Adur Riverbank Industrial Estate. Cowslips were in flower on the verges of the Coastal Link Cyclepath.

On the southern side of Miller's Stream (opposite to Spring Dyke) a large adult Roe Deer, without antlers, surprised me with a leap from cover of the long reeds to disappear under a Hawthorn. 

8 April 2005

Great Spotted Cuckoo
Photograph by Marc Read

5  April 2005
In the urban cyclepath (south of the and the Toll Bridge) towpath area of the Adur levels and the Coombes road as far north as the Ladywell's stream, the following were noted in flower: Green Alkanet, Coltsfoot, Lesser Celandine, Forget-me-Not, Sweet Violets, Red Dead Nettle, and Dandelion. Cowslips were in bud, but the flowers had not opened up. None of these are newsworthy, but I thought I would include a note of the date for a later reference. 
3 April 2005
An adult Great Spotted Cuckoo, Clamator glandarius, was observed at the Adur Recreation Ground (just west of the Norfolk Bridge), Shoreham at 6:00 pm.
This exotic alien (breeds in Spain) bird was just by the side of the A259 in a small tree approx 100 metres west of the car park. I managed to pull over, grab my binoculars and get within about six metres of the bird.......and what a beautiful bird it was!
As the last one in 1990 at Shoreham Airport stayed for nearly a month.

Report by Darryl Perry on Sussex Ornithological Society News
The 1990 bird  was seen at close distance in the Ricardo's Test field, to the north of the A27 opposite (east of) the Sussex Pad.
Historic Report by Betty Bishop
Subsequent Report
Birds of Sussex (Rare Birds)
Birds of Sussex
Great Spotted Cuckoo Photograph

18 March 2005
Four Brimstone Butterflies are seen at Coombes. The Wall Whitlow-grass, Draba muralis, is growing and spreading rapidly, not on chalk but on a geological rock base of a greensand outcrop in Coombes village. This is is only known location in Sussex.

Report by Brianne Reeve

16 March 2005
Over a thousand gulls, mostly Black-headed Gulls and Common Gulls followed the plough on the field below (west) Mill Hill on the Adur Levels. 
Adur Estuary 2005

10 March 2005
As air temperature (10.7 ºC) went into double figures for the first time since 12 February 2005, a pair of Mallards were on the flooded freshwater stream that ran parallel with the river south of Cuckoo’s Corner
There were a pair of Wrens at Cuckoo’s Corner car park, at least a pair of Long-tailed Tits in the naked trees as the Coombes Road crossed Ladywell Stream. The inevitable dozen or so Moorhens were on the lowland field behind the scout’s cabin. In the canopy on the southern approaches to Coombes, there were at least a dozen Rook's nests with their noisy inhabitants.
Crow's Nest Roadside Rabbit burrows (Coombes Road, near Applesham)

The road verges on the incline to the Applesham Farm junction were warrened with rabbit burrows. A dozen plus Rabbits were seen.
A Grey Heron was on vigil on the banks of Passies Pond. 

On the cyclepath south of the Cement Works, Coltsfoot flowers amongst the grass were most noticeable. I could not find any leaves for this plant. 
On the rotten logs on the cyclepath verges there were numerous Trametes bracket fungi and on the end of another log there were some King Alfred’s Cakes; a distinctive blackish-coloured fungus. 
Back in Shoreham town, there was at least one Wren seen over twitten between Ropetackle and Victoria Road, next to the railway embankment. 
Adur Levels Lichens

9 February 2005
In a front garden tree to the north-west of New Monks Farm, Lancing, in the second house past the garage (now closed for petrol) on the busy and noisy southern side of the main A27, a Long-tailed Titwas making such a racket above the traffic that I stopped to confirm what all the fuss was about. It was soon joined by a mate, rival or companion. 

Italian Alder8 February 2005
There was a Goldfinch in the tree tops of the Italian Alder on Adur Recreation Ground. 

15 January 2005
A muddy and rather interesting short run on the Coastal Link Cyclepath north of Old Shoreham produced nothing out of the ordinary; twenty Wood Pigeons in the taller scrub, a solitary colourful male Kestrel took off from its station on the top of a bare tree, a few Robins, Crows, Magpies, Blackbirds and two Little Grebes* on the River Adur estuary north of the Toll Bridge. At the 45° the male Kestrel flew away, its head looked very bulbous. (* assumed, the birds looked like a larger pair of grebes, but I had left my binoculars at home)

3 January 2005
North of Old Shoreham Toll Bridge two Little Grebes spent most of the time diving repeatedly under the surface of the River Adur estuary on a rising neap tide at about 2.5 metres (two hours after low water). 
Adur Estuary 2005

On the Coastal Link Cyclepath north of Old Shoreham, there was a flock of between a dozen and thirty thrushes in the Hawthorn. They looked paler and slightly plumper than Song Thrushes, and there did not appear to be any red underwing, although they flew off at my approach. My educated guess are that these are Fieldfares
The only fungi observed were some bracket fungi, Trametes versicolor, on a rotten log.

Adur Levels 2004
River Adur Estuary Wildlife 2004

Adur Nature Notes 2005:   Index Page

Adur Valley
Adur Nature Notes 2005