Adur Levels 2013

2 December 2012
Two Goosanders were present briefly from 8:00 am on the River Adur opposite Shoreham Airport.

Birding Never Sleeps News Report

29 November 2012

 Lapwings & Grey Plover

4 November 2012
Winter seems to have arrived with rain leaving standing water and the winds gusting at Gale force blowing the remaining leaves off the trees. In the fading light of the late afternoon, eleven waders with red legs were active on the small amount of exposed River Adur mud between the Cord Grass patches and the south-east side of the Toll Bridge. Most of these were Redshanks.

23 October 2012
At mid-tide in the afternoon with enough mud showing for at least a few gulls but  there was very few birds, notably a couple of Oystercatchers on the opposite mud from Shoreham Airport, (nearer the Railway Viaduct than the Toll Bridge).

17 October 2012
A Storm Surge put extra height on an exceptionally high tide of  6.8 metres at 12:56 pm, just beginning to flood Coronation Green.

The forecast surge height was 0.33 metres above the normal tide forecast

12 October 2012
A flock of about seventy Lapwings wheeled around, looking for a place to land, at the time of extreme low neap tide in the afternoon (low tide at 1.02 metres, Shoreham Harbour, WXTide).

10 October 2012
The Lapwings are back for Winter: I saw two trotting the River Adur estuary tideline on the low neaps around midday. There was unprecedented was a school of 16 young Redshanks on the edge of the mud on the river opposite Shoreham Airport. The yellow legs of the juvenile bird identified them through my binoculars. The red-legged adults are solitary and noisily territorial. They were accompanied by a few Grey Plovers. As I watched them probing the mud a flock of about 40 of the much smaller Ringed Plovers landed in unison. Butterflies were still fluttering around, but mostly Red Admirals prior to hibernation.
Full Butterfly Report

Little Egret9 October 2012
A most unusual visit was made by half a dozen European Spoonbills, Platalea leucorodia, to the River Adur estuary about 2:00 pm, at low tide, opposite the Airport. Spoonbills are a Very Scarce Passage Migrant in Sussex, occasionally recorded in ones or twos, very rarely four or five, and six together is unprecedented.
SOS Records (Spreadsheet)

Report and Photograph by Judy Upton on Sussex Ornithological Society News

7 October 2012
I cycled the very muddy western towpath of the River Adur for the first time this year, noting a Wheatear flying amongst the seeding Sea Aster. Two Little Egrets trotted on the mud on the eastern bank, one of them repeatedly feeding and consumed over a dozen small fish (probably Bass fry) in five minutes. The red Haws were looking fine and Large White and Red Admiral Butterflies were occasionally seen, but it was not very interesting to justify the difficult cycle ride (through sticky mud and standing water, and over two stiles) to Botolphs, where I was surprised to see a very large* bird of prey rising from a pasture next to the river. The large white and heavily speckled brown bird was being aggressively mobbed by a Crow which seemed miniature in comparison. Alas, I only saw the bird flying for twenty seconds before its leisurely gull-like flight took the raptor quickly over another pasture and away before I could get my binoculars out. (*larger than a Buzzard and Herring Gull.) My conclusion was this was my first sighting of the Osprey that has been visiting nearby Passie Ponds in the last week. The Osprey was seen was about 1:57 pm and it was a middle neap tide (3.9 metres at Shoreham Harbour).  The Osprey is classified as a Scarce Passage Migrant by the Sussex Ornithological Society.
Report on SOS Sightings (Link)

Little Egret

27 September 2012
After three days of heavy rain, I would not have been surprised if there were no butterflies around in Old Shoreham by the river. However, there was an occasional Buddleia still in flower and frequent Red Admirals, occasional Large Whites and two metres north of the Toll Bridge I definitely identified a Green-Veined White. On the hedge-like verges (adorned with the red berries of Dog Rose and Hawthorn, and the occasional black berries of Privet) of the cyclepath between the Toll Bridge and the Buffer Stop a Southern Hawker dragonfly hawked to a fro without settling.

10 September 2012
The identifying white rump of a Wheatear was spotted on the edge of the mud flats at low tide just south of the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham.
9 September 2012
A new plant was added to my personal local tally: Blue Water Speedwell  Veronica anagallis-aquatica was identified from a stream next to the Cyclepath north of Old Shoreham. 
Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea
7 September 2012

After some ruthless gardening the view changed to the second frame in the picture above.

4 September 2012

About thirty Red Admiral Butterflies congregated around a single Buddleia bush by the buffer stop (north of the Riverbank Industrial Estate) west Shoreham.
Butterfly & Moth List 2012

Green-veined Whites31 August 2012
Large White Butterflies flew around the Sea Kale by the Old Fort at the eastern end of Shoreham Beach. But the white butterflies on Adur Recreation Ground were a mating pair of Green-Veined Whites. A red vanessid that landed on  the Adur towpath adjacent to Shoreham Airport (the Toll Bridge end) was a Small Tortoiseshell.

12 August 2012
Cycling back from the Flyover Car Boot Sale on a busy Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath and I noted occasional butterflies: Meadow Browns and Large Whites, a few Gatekeepers and one faded and intact Peacock Butterfly on Hemp Agrimony. Honey Bees were attracted to the Chicory in flower on the verges of the Steyning Road north of the junction to Old Erringham. I have seen more Honey Bees in the wild this year than for a whole decade before.

11 August 2012
On the River Adur, I would estimate in excess of thirty Mute Swans at low tide by the Cement Works. I could not count them as my view from the cyclepath was obscured.  In the warm sunshine at least eight Southern Hawkers (dragonfly) were active. Butterflies were courting, notably Large Whites and Speckled Woods of the eight species seen on the Adur Levels. The large hoverfly Volucella zonaria was seen for the first time this year.
Full Butterfly Report
30 July 2012
It was still breezy with a steady Force 5 throughout the day making conditions inimical to photography. One interesting picture was a family of a drake Mallard and her eight chicks in the drainage ditch on the northern border of the New Monks Farm spoil dumping area, east Lancing (west of the Withy Gap). The ditch has been recently constructed and filled with water after the recent rain. It has always been an area that flooded regularly in winter

24 July 2012

On the warmest day of the year so far, there were frequent Small Skippers and the much larger Meadow Brown Butterflies on the verges next to the towpath by the River Adur, north of Ropetackle.
21 July 2012

A Weasel gambolled over the cyclepath and into the meadow-like verges south of the Cement Works, with its peculiar undulating gait. Dark clouds to the north made the full tide on the River Adur appear dark. Butterflies were occasionally seen and most were not in active flight: Meadow Browns occasionally fluttered around, there was one Marbled White and one Gatekeeper, Green-veined Whites and Large Whites. New flowers noted included Tufted Vetch, Teasel, and Fleabane. My first 6-spotted Burnet Moth of the year was seen on some of the flowering Marjoram.
Adur Butterfly and Moth List 2012

 Adur Levels & Estuary 2012

1 July 2012
In the blustery conditions (Force 6 gusting to Force 7) I spotted my first Large Skipper of the year on the verges of the Downs-Coastal Link Cyclepath near the Cement Works end. At the same time there was a Small Heath Moth spotted resting briefly on a grass. Male Meadow Browns were frequent and restless, The males are the darker ones with just a hint of orange on the upper wings. Red Admirals occasionally seen on the path where the first flowers of Buddleia were swaying constantly in the wind. The verges were dominated by flowering Ox-eye Daises, Melilot, Hardheads, in flower with ample Lady's Bedstraw with clumps of Viper's Bugloss and patches of the diminutive Hop Trefoil with notable Creeping Cinquefoil, the first flowering Great Mullein of the year, Purple Toadflax, Rosebay Willowherb and Pyramidal Orchids. The flowerheads could be seen on Teasel and one plant was at least 170 cm (1.7 metres) in height.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Butterfly Report

14 June 2012

 River Adur
 Ox-eye Daisies
 Sea Purslane + Sea Spurrey
 Sea Spurrey

31 May 2012
My first Common Blue Damselfly, Enallagma cyathigerum, of the year put in an appearance over the verges of the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham. On a breezy day, I noted a few more wild plants in flower for the first time this year.

13 May 2012
An Osprey was spotted flying over Shoreham Airport and the identification was confirmed by a photograph.

Osprey Report by Nick Bond on Sussex Ornithological Society News

12 May 2012
In the weak sunshine (12.4 °C), a small collection of butterflies showed on the outskirts of Old Shoreham, including a few Small Whites and a few Large Whites, a Green-veined White, only my second Holly Blue of the year, a pristine Peacock and a Speckled Wood. My first Odonata of the year, a Large Red Damselfly showed amongst the Stinging Nettles in the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road.

11 May 2012
Too cool (13.9 °C) for butterflies and too breezy (Force 4 from the north) to photograph flowers close-up, the rain of the past few days had nevertheless stopped in a white fluffy Cumulus blue and white sky. Nevertheless a Small White fluttered over the cyclepath just south of the Cement Works, a Peacock Butterfly fluttered over Anchor Bottom, the first male Orange-tip of the day fluttered around the back of the gardens of the houses in Dacre Gardens (Upper Beeding), and a tattered Small Tortoiseshell was spotted over the Wild Carrot and Stinging Nettles between the South Downs Way Bridge and Botolphs. Near the end of the afternoon, the weak sun shined and a few more butterflies made an appearance notably a Large White at Botolphs and another one the junction to Applesham Farm on the Coombes Road, and  two male Orange-tips and a Speckled Wood over the east verge of the Coombes Road by Ladywells. Three Whitebeam saplings had been planted next to the Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath just north of the first layby north of Old Shoreham. A female Pheasant took flight near Botolphs.
Adur Butterfly List 2012

2 May 2012
A male Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus, made an impressive display when it visited the open space over New Monks Farm, Lancing.

Hen Harrier
(Click on the image to view the video)

"It stayed for about an hour, constantly diving down, presumably after mice or other small animals. It attracted quite a large flock of gulls and crows that were trying to mob it, although it didn't seem too concerned."
The display was captured on a video film. This bird of prey is a scarce (winter visitor and passage migrant) visitor to Sussex.

Report by Frank Prince-Iles on Save the Gap and Sussex Ornithological Society News

27 April 2012
A turquoise-blue sky appeared as the clouds blew away in the afternoon and the sun and butterflies came out on an unpromising day. On the outskirts of Shoreham I recorded four Orange-tips (including one female), at least six Speckled Woods, at least three Brimstone Butterflies, at least six Peacock Butterflies, two Small Whites, one Green-veined White, my first Large White of the year and my first Holly Blue of the year. Eight species of butterfly (the most in a single day so far) were spotted without visiting the downs.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Butterfly List 2012

A Short-eared Owl was mobbed by gulls early in the morning (8.30 am) in the field on the east side of the River Adur immediately north of the flyover. Three Whimbrel were on the adjoining river too.

Bird Report (with map) by Chris Corrigan on Sussex Ornithological Society News

24 April 2012
Hawthorn was now beginning to flower (notably at Cuckoo's Corner). Blackthorn was still in flower along the Coombes Road but on Mill Hill (viewed from the Adur Levels) the flowers had diminished.


Blackthorn has flowers before leaves. Hawthorn has leaves before flowers.
What's the difference between Blackthorn and Hawthorn?.

Other flowers of note for the first time this year on verges of the Coombes Road (from Ladywell's Stream and south) were Garlic Mustard, Red Campion and Ransoms. Next to the cyclepath in Old Shoreham, Cowslips and Wild Strawberry were added to the list. Lesser Celandine, Field Speedwell, Bluebells, Ground Ivy, Red Deadnettle and White Deadnettle were commonly in flower. Wild Carrot was budding and the first flowers had appeared.

Orange-tip            (male) on Sweet Violet28 March 2012
A Small White Butterfly flew over Frampton Lane in Old Shoreham. On cue, a male Orange Tip Butterfly flew along the Waterworks Road and made a few visits to the Sweet VIolets. Except, although half expected it was early, the first time I have seen this attractive butterfly in March. A few minutes later as I waited for the Orange Tip to briefly settle from its endless wandering up and now the lane, I spotted my first Small Tortoiseshell of the year, with its wings closed (an then opening briefly), on a patch of Ground Ivy. A Peacock Butterfly landed on the same Ground Ivy and the Small Tortoiseshell flew off. Then along came the most magnificent large Brimstone Butterfly I had ever seen cruised by without stopping. A worn Comma Butterfly fluttered by and then landed on the road. My first Green-veined White Butterfly of the year courted the Orange-tip and I could see it was twice the size of its erroneous partner. This was another first for March. Common Bee-Flies, Bombylius major, were frequently seen.
Adur Butterfly List 2012
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Violets

22 March 2012
Blackthorn was in flower in Old Shoreham. Spring had started to bloom.

 21 March 2012
Coltsfoot was flowering on the cyclepath near the Cement Works. A Peacock Butterfly fluttered over the path further to the south.
Adur Butterfly List 2012

9 March 2012
My first bumblebee of the year, a Queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris,  flew just above the cyclepath south of the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham. Otherwise, there was very little to note on a grey day. The first Daffodils in the wild were noted and many of the Black-headed Gulls sported a fine brown crown (=head) as they waded on the mud on a mid equinoctial Spring tide on the River Adur.
The open access land known as Spring Dyke juxta Miller's Stream (north of Old Shoreham) has now been fenced off. This has been open access land for over 60 years, owned by the Water Authority for as long as I can remember. There is now no local stretch of freshwater with access in the Shoreham area, unless you count the small stretch of Ladywell's Stream north of Cuckoo's Corner adjacent to the road. There also drainage ditches surrounding the fields on the levels on the western side of the river. Annington Sewer (uncovered) is probably the nearest stream now that supports dragonflies

20 February 2012
There was very little on interest except for a single Little Grebe diving under water at low tide in the main part of the river just south of Cuckoo's Corner (on the Coombes Road). A Crow feeding on the tideline south of the Toll Bridge, had a handful of white tail feathers. Two Dandelion heads were the only two wild flowers seen on a grey day. On the cyclepath between Old Shoreham and the Cement Works there were just frequent of the common birds of the species in order of prevalence: Blackbirds, Robin Redbreasts, Wrens, a few Blue Tits, one Great Tit and a single Jay. There were no flocks of any winter thrushes seen in the fields, pastures or hedgerows.

5 February 2012
The nearly low neap tide (2.1 metres) on the River Adur was still like a mill pond with the bridges reflected in the still grey water. It was good Dunlin watching conditions with hundreds of the small waders actively feeding in the mud nearer the eastern bank (opposite the Airport) than normal. Nearby in semi-wild conditions, I noted my first Snowdrops of the year just beginning to flower.

19 January 2012
"Immediately, from two feet in front of my nose, something flapped and flopped away, awkwardly, like an albatross trying to fly in a shed. It was a small Sparrowhawk, carrying prey a little bigger than it could handle, Blackbird maybe. It was getting pretty dark by now, and I could only just make it out, having flopped and flapped a couple of trees away, sitting on a low branch with its prize, wings held out at half mast, dismantling its prey."

Report by Neil Fletcher on A Sparrowhawk in a Henfield garden (link)
10 January 2012
On the new wildlife verge of the the cyclepath by the Adur Riverside Industrial Park (disused) north of Ropetackle and the Railway Viaduct, one of the colonising plants seen in flower amongst the dead vegetation was the Mediterranean species known as Sweet Alyssum, Lobularia maritima, not recorded before on these Nature Notes

6 January 2012
A Redshank probed by the tideline at the west end of the houseboats on the River Adur at low tide. It was foraging on the mud a bit like a Grey Plover, but it had a longer beak and preened itself occasionally. This is a common occurrence only made notable because I thought at first it was a Purple Sandpiper.

Upper Beeding Brooks has been a regular location to spot Short-eared Owls quartering fields in the early afternoon, with Fieldfare, Heron, Kingfisher and Kestrel.

Report and Photograph by Colin Leeves on Sussex Ornithological Society News

4 January 2012
An Iceland Gull, Larus glaucoides, was seen by other birdwatchers on several occasions and photographed over the River Adur.

Reports on Sussex Ornithological Society News
Native Sussex (Mick Davis) Birding Blog

On a dull grey day, there was nothing newsworthy on a trek to Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes Road. At mid-tide the expected thousands of Common Gulls rested on the available mud north of the A27 Flyover, Several hundred Lapwings flew over Shoreham Airport, and Herring Gulls clamoured in the air over Old Shoreham.

north of New                      Monks Farm, Lancing
Stream SE of Cuckoo's Corner
Ladywells Stream (by the Scout Hut)
 Trees in Lancing 
(next to the A27 opposite New Monks Farm)

On the Ladywell's Stream (north of Cuckoo's Corner) a Moorhen swam jerkily into cover of the reeds.

2 January 2012
Five adult Bewick's Swans were seen grazing on the fields below Wyckham Farm, north of Steyning. They were viewable from the embankment of the River Adur.

Report by David Buckingham on Sussex Ornithological Society News


Adur Levels and Estuary 2011

Downs-Coastal Link Cyclepath

Link to the Adur 2012 Nature Notes pages