Adur Levels & Estuary 2017

12 October 2017
With the verges of the Downs Link Path on both sides shorn of vegetation, if there was hardly anything of interest a week ago, there was absolutely nothing to make my cycle ride to the Cement Works worthwhile. I cycled to Wood's Mill and that had mostly mud, fallen leaves and acorns. Common Darters were frequent and a few Speckled Woods survived to flutter around under the trees. Coal Tits flitted around and could be seen through the bare branches. A much larger brighter dragonfly flew by the viewing platform to the large pond and this was certainly a Southern Hawker. Frequent Whirligig Beetles rippled the surface of the small pond and that was it.

Shorn Verges of the Down's Link Cyclepath at Erringham Gap

6 October 2017
The Lapwings were back on the River Adur mud at Old Shoreham at low tide in the dwindling light of late afternoon. No butterflies were seen between Old Shoreham and the Cement Works on the Down's Link Path. A few flowers were photographed in the montage below but overall there is very little colour and hardly anything of interest.
Lichen Report

Ox-eye Daisy, Bristly Ox-tongue, Red Clover, White Clover
Perennial Sow Thistle, Lesser Knapweed, Mayweed, Rough Hawkbit
Down's Link Cyclepath: Old Shoreham - Cement Works

Verges of the Down's Link Cyclepath,  between Old Shoreham and the Cement Works

Adur Daisies
Adur Knapweed Studies

27 September 2017

Common Centaury
Old Shoreham

28 August 2017

Walnut

27 August 2017
Sea Aster was now flowering on the estuarine margins of the River Adur. A Grey Heron was surprised at Annington Sewer and the large bird took flight, a short hop into the neighbouring pasture. This left an Emperor Dragonfly, Anax imperator, on patrol over the confluence of two streams south of the road bridge. Purple Loosestrife bordered the stream at Bramber and Everlasting Pea brightened up a grass verge. At Spring Head Shaw, Rifle Range, on the downs west Steyning, I spotted (entirely on my own) my third Brown Hairstreak (butterfly) of the day as it fluttered down to land on a Blackthorn sapling to lay a egg in the middle of the day, They were very difficult to spot and because they climbed down the stem immediately I found them impossible to photograph successfully.

Annington Sewer

In Castle Lane Park (adjacent to Clays HIll), Bramber, three species of dragonfly were quickly seen by the pond: one Common Darter, one Southern Hawker and a clearly seen Brown Hawker, Aeshna grandis. A small shoal of less than a dozen Rudd would seen in the murky waters of the pond, which had stands of the blue flowering Pickerelweed. The pond was surrounded by large clumps of Fleabane and Water Mint. A female Mallard took flight and squawked loudly.
Butterfly Report
Wild Flowers 2017

Down's Link Cyclepath at Erringham Gap

30 July 2017
Even with a constant breeze (Force 6) under a cloudy sky, I changed my mind cycling along the Down's Link Path as far the Cement Works before  the sun went behind a cloud and I turned back prematurely. In the shady part of the path by the Cement Works spotted four Red Admirals which are hardly noteworthy, and then most impressively a huge Emperor Dragonfly patrolled the path incessantly. Past experience has indicated that they rarely settle. A Gatekeeper Butterfly fluttered over the path and a Meadow Brown and a few male Common Blues were seen over the verges.
Illustrated Butterfly Report

27 July 2017
Under a cloudy sky and a constant breeze (Force 5) and the added gusts made photographing wild flowers very tricky on the Down's Link Path between Old Shoreham to just north of Erringham Gap.

Red Admiral on Hemp Agrimony, Green-veined White, Common Toadflax
Gatekeeper, female Common Blue
Down's Link Cyclepath between Old Shoreham and Erringham Gap

It was even more tricky with the butterflies blown about in the breeze: a few each of Red Admirals, Gatekeepers, Green-veined Whites, Meadow Browns, female Common Blues, one Small (or Essex) Skipper and one Silver Y Moth in much less than a hour before I felt the first spots of rain.
Illustrated Butterfly Report

23 July 2017
Although it was cloudy and it had been damp, I was still surprised the Flyover Car Boot Sale was cancelled. Instead, I cycled non-stop from Erringham Gap to Anchor Bottom (Dacre Gardens entrance) along the Downs Link Path, spotting a couple of Large White Butterflies and a Red Admiral on the way.

Tufted Vetch, Eyebright (tall), Yarrow
Down's Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the Cement Works
Adur Levels

All the local Eyebright flowers look exactly the same. The general appearance on the plant can vary a lot with ground-hugging pants on the downs, and taller plants on the levels.

16 July 2017
An unplanned cycle trip to Wood's Mill (via Erringham Gap and Down's Link Cyclepath to Bramber and the A283 (Henfield Road) and back for a total distance of 8 miles) was both disappointing and rewarding. I noted in the change of summer flowers on the verges of the Down's Link Cyclepath (Old Shoreham to the South Downs Way Bridge) now dominated by Hogweed, Rosebay Willowherb, Buddleia, Melilot, Hardheads (=Lesser Knapweed), Hemp Agrimony, Wild Carrot, Greater Willowherb, Red Bartsia and Fleabane, with significant amounts of Wild Basil, Greater Knapweed, Creeping Thistle, Common Ragwort, Tufted Vetch, Ox-eye Daisies,  and lesser amounts of Spear Thistle, Marjoram, Bristly Ox-tongue, single patches of Common Toadflax, Water Mint, Common Poppies and occasional other plants. It was cloudy in the middle of the day and butterflies were merely frequent Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, occasional Large Whites, Small Whites, Marbled Whites and at least one Peacock, and a 6-spotted Burnet Moth on the verges of the cyclepath. Add a shredded Ringlet at the Wood's Mill farm meadow, and a Small Skipper on the Restricted Byway over Windmill Hill near Upper Beeding, which gives only eight butterfly species.
Adur Flower Images of the Day
Adur Hogweeds

Meadow Brown, Little Grebe, Water Dropwort
Meadowsweet, Dark Mullein
Adur Levels

Wood's Mill was generally disappointing, but  it had its moments, notably three restless male Beautiful Demoiselles, Calopteryx virgo, over a stream, and a really large dragonfly in Hoe Wood. It was really close but it would not stay still so I'm not sure which one it was. I think it was most likely an Emperor Dragonfly, Anax imperator. I also spotted a handful of Blue-tailed Damselflies, Ischnura elegans next to the small pond-dipping pool. A Little Grebe dived under the lily pads in the large pond.  I had a chance to compare the seeds of Water Dropwort at Wood's MiIll. I disturbed a resting Skylark on the top of Windmill Hill, east of Upper Beeding. On this mound like hill pasture three camelids, thought to be Alpacas,  grazed.

15 July 2017

Alexanders
Alexanders
Old Shoreham Towpath

Early spring flowers like Alexanders had gone to seed on the towpath edge of the river north of the Tollbridge on the east side. Both the green seeds and the black are Alexanders.
Adur Alexanders
Adur Umbellifers

6 July 2017
On the bicycle disaster day (a major puncture) had me otherwise preoccupied I noted frequent Meadow Browns and Large Whites all over the Adur Levels and occasional Gatekeepers, a few Ringlets (Tottington Wood) at least one Marbled White (Henfield Road), one Essex (or Small) Skipper (Tottington Wood meadow), my first of the year Silver-washed Fritillary at Tottington Wood, and one Red Admiral (Wood's Mill) and occasional Speckled Woods (Tottington Wood).

6 July 2017
Seven Swifts fly to and fro over the morning blue skies at Steyning. Nine butterfly species were seen including my first of the year Silver-washed Fritillary at Tottington Wood, near Small Dole.

                                      Marsh Woundwort                                                             Enchanters Nightshade

A Brown Hawker (dragonfly) flew to and fro over the big pond at Wood's Mill where it sparred with an Emperor Dragonfly. Marsh Woundwort was recorded at Wood's Mill and Enchanters Nightshade at Tottington Wood.
Day Wild Flower Images
Tottington Wood (my visits)
Adur Butterfly List 2017

2 July 2017
Pride of the day was a spectacular Emperor Dragonfly, Anax imperator, that patrolled over a confluence in the Meadowsweet-lined Annington Sewer near the A283 Steyning by-pass bridge over the tidal River Adur. The Emperor chased away a male Broad-bodied Chaser, Libellula depressa, (dragonfly), which appeared very much smaller.

 Dwarf Mallow, Small Skipper, Meadowsweet, Marbled White on Hardhead
Teasel
Down's Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the fields south of Bramber
Adur Levels

At the height of summer, the sun shined in the middle of the day and the butterflies were very frequently seen on the verges of the Down's Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the fields south of Bramber. I cycled back to Shoreham along the Coombes Road. The verges hosted frequent Meadow Browns, Small Skippers, Marbled Whites and Large Whites with occasional Small Whites, at least one Ringlet, one fresh Small Tortoiseshell, one or two 6-spotted Burnet Moths, and a few Gatekeepers. A Red Admiral was seen near Annington Sewer, a Comma and a Peacock near Ladywells giving a tally of eleven different butterfly species and one macro moth.
Adur Butterfly List 2017
Adur Teasels

1 July 2017
Going into the last month of summer, the verges of the Down's Link Cyclepath changed in character as the late summer flowers put on a burst of growth and the verges became dominated by Buddleia bushes, Meliliot, Lady's Bedstraw, the two Knapweeds, (Greater & Hardheads), with significant appearances of Common Hogweed, Willowherbs (Rosebay and Greater),  and the continuing Ox-eyed Daisies. Pyramidal Orchids were still flowering  but they were swamped and hidden by the taller vegetation. With the summer flowers came my first Gatekeeper Butterfly of the year visiting Melilot. Teasels were growing up to over a metre high showing the capitulum (pseudanthium or flower head) but not yet the purple flowers.

Pyramidal Orchids, Common Centaury, Viper's Bugloss, Lady's Bedstraw with Pyramidal Orchids
Bellflower, Gatekeeper, Yellow Rattle
Down's Link Cyclepath: Old Shoreham - Cement Works

Under a cloudy afternoon sky, on the cyclepath from Old Shoreham to just south of the Cement Works, there was only occasional butterflies, a few Large Whites, a few Meadow Browns including at least one fresh specimen, and a languid fluttering brown butterfly was identified as a faded Ringlet. Cinnabar Moth caterpillars crawled over the budding Common Ragwort.
Wild Flower Report

18 June 2017
Pyramidal Orchids were out in force on the verges of the Down's Link Cyclepath where I saw my first two Ringlet Butterflies of the year.

11 June 2017

Common Spotted Orchids hidden amongst the vegetation
on the Down's Link Cyclepath

Greater Knapweed (with Meadow Brown), Mayweed, Common Spotted Orchids, Hardhead (=Lesser Knapweed)
Water Cress species, Pyramidal Orchid
Down's Link Cyclepath: Erringham Gap - Cement Works

With the ninth successive day of windsurfer weather the summer flowers were blown about in the Fresh Breeze (Force 5).  A male Meadow Brown, two male Common Blue Butterflies  and two unidentified medium-sized brownish butterflies blown about in the breeze was my butterfly tally in the late morning. One large Nursery-web Spider, Pisaura mirabilis, was spotted. Common Spotted Orchids and Pyramidal Orchids were commonly in flower on the verges of the cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the Cement Works. The orchids bright colours stood out through the growing green vegetation.
Adur Butterfly List 2017
Wild Flower Report
Adur Daisies

English Elm10 June 2017
Still breezy (Force 4) and just a few Red Admirals fluttering around, two Wall Brown Butterflies over the towpath between the  Toll Bridge and Cuckoo's Corner, and a Meadow Brown  in the field of Yellow Flag Iris next to Ladywell's Stream visited yesterday. Azure Damselflies, Coenagrion puella, were out in the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham, and Blue-tailed Damselflies, Ischnura elegans in a field of Yellow Flag Iris, Hedge Woundwort, various grasses and Stinging Nettles, next to Ladywell's Stream & the Scout Hut (just north of Cuckoo's Corner). There were less than a dozen seen but I expect there were many more. A mature English Elm was in leaf on the Coombes Road, by Ladywells.

9 June 2017
A whole week of persistently breezy weather continued with a steady Fresh Breeze (Force 5). In a field of Yellow Flag Iris, Hedge Woundwort, Cocksfoot (grass) and Stinging Nettles, next to Ladywell's Stream (just north of Cuckoo's Corner) I disturbed a Meadow Brown Butterfly and a Brown Argus. They were the only butterflies seen in the afternoon and both first of the year finds for me. A Jay flew between the trees near Cuckoo's Corner. A horde of 21 Crows congregated on the mud (on the opposite bank from the Ladywells inlet) in the main part of the River Adur at mid-tide where three or more House Martins flow to and fro.
Adur Butterfly List 2017

Field of Yellow Flag Iris

31 May 2017
A male Common Blue Butterfly was seen amongst the vegetation on the verges of the cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the Cement Works. A Mother Shipton Moth visited Yellow Rattle and was attractive to look at but would not keep still in the warm sunshine in the afternoon. A Small White Butterfly was also spotted.
On a warm sunny afternoon I cycled the Downs Link Cyclepath from Old Shoreham to Upper Beeding where I discovered three species of orchid in flower on the verges. There were frequent Common Spotted Orchids by Erringham Gap, over a hundred south of the Cement Works accompanied by at least two spikes of the Common Bee Orchid.  Returning by the Down's Link Cyclepath I spotted a budding Pyramidal Orchid near the Flyover.
Butterfly Report
Wild Flower Images

24 May 2017

Grey Heron

On a hazy day, there were small fish in the River Adur because a Grey Heron caught and swallowed one whole in the shallows at mid-tide south of Cuckoo's Corner.

19 May 2017

Hybrid Black Poplar, Populus x canadensis
Old Erringham

11 May 2017

Turnstone at Ropetackle
Note the fresh green shoots of Glasswort

Adur Glassworts

10 May 2017
 

Hybrid Black Poplar, Populus x canadensis
(I originally identified this as Small-leaved Linden (=Lime) Tilia cordata)
Old Erringham

On a sunny day I cycled from Old Shoreham to the Cement Works where I noted a male Orange Tip Butterfly visiting Ground Ivy, a Green-veined White and two Brimstone Butterflies on passage. Hawthorn was blossoming profusely in the hedgerows and as separate trees.

Orange Tip Butterfly, Dusky (=Black Widow) Cranesbill Geranium phaeum
Wood's Mill

I then cycled the busy road to Wood's Mill, Small Dole. I was not familiar with this managed nature reserve/study centre and where was the best area to go. The young children had fished a Great Diving Beetle larva out of the small pond in a supervised pond dipping session. I ventured towards the large pond where the trees cast reflections in the still surface with budding yellow water lilies. I spotted a single 3-spined Stickleback in the clear water with a few swimming Frog tadpoles, without legs. Hemlock Water Dropwort and Meadowsweet were budding around the edge and a Large Red Damselfly landed. There was on small patch of Garlic Mustard which attracted a pair of Orange Tip Butterflies. Alas, the battery in my camera ran out and the female fluttered off and did not return. There was at least one Comma Butterfly by a waterside Oak Tree and a Speckled Wood Butterfly in the shade.

6 May 2017

Whimbrel
Photograph by Etienne Fournier
River Adur, by Adur Recreation Ground/Adur Viaduct

3 May 2017
A cycle ride to Botolphs on the Downs Link Cyclepath and back via the Coombes Road on a rainy day, had little of interest: a Moorhen at a Botolphs stream, three Mallards overhead, and a flurry in the stream which I thought could have been a large fish but it most likely a sudden gust of wind. Red Campions were flowering profusely in the Ricardo field opposite (east of the Coombes Road) the Sussex Pad. A Little Egret took flight from the mucky stream next to the road.

Walnut
Juglans regia
Near (south of) Coombes

Adur Tree Report

25 April 2017
A pair of Oystercatchers mated at low tide underneath Adur Ferry Bridge in the late afternoon.

20 April 2017

Hawthorn
at Cuckoo's Corner

The bulky greyish-brown speckled appearance of a Mistle Thrush was a surprise, flying between the trees at above head height at Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes Road on a cool day.
Adur Trees 2017
 

Stream near the River Adur at Botolphs
12 April 2017
Butterflies were frequently seen on the weak sunshine despite the breeze. White butterflies were seen on the verges of the cyclepath at Old Shoreham. These were the first of year and mostly they were too flighty to be identified. Eventually, one of a pair settled by a stream near Botolphs and was recognised clearly as a Green-veined White. By the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham, an emergence of a dozen Speckled Woods, joined a few Peacock Butterflies, a Brimstone Butterfly, and a few whites, probably Green-veined. It was an afternoon for the familiar early spring hoverflies (including Rhingia campestris and Helophilus pendulus), small bees attracted to Alexanders, and one Nursery-web Spider, Pisaura mirabilis, on a Stinging Nettle. A Comma Butterfly made an appearance by Frampton's Field.
 

Brimstone Butterfly
Speckled Wood

I made an impromtu decision to cycle along the Down's Link Cyclepath to Upper Beeding where it was too breezy for many butterflies. Streamside at Botolphs a few restless male Orange Tips made an appearance with the aforementioned Green-veined Whites and Red Admirals by the river towpath. That made for seven species of butterfly in a couple of hours. House Martins were seen over the lowland fields at Botolphs.
Adur Butterfly List 2017

6 April 2017

Orange Tip Butterfly, Wren, small hoverfly (to be identified: Melanostoma scalare ???)
Common Bee-fly on Lady's Smock, Peacock Butterfly, Small Tortoiseshell

Ladywells and Cucloo's Corner

A Buzzard looked large in the afternoon sky as it soared over the Adur Levels as seen from near Ladywells, from a field north of Ladywell's Stream on the Coombes Road, where I spotted my first male Orange Tip Butterfly of the year fluttering endlessly for fifteen minutes without pausing together with a Brimstone, Peacock and two Small Tortoiseshells that all landed very briefly. Luckily an Orange Tip did visit Green Alkanet flowering at Cuckoo's Corner. Its food plants Lady's Smock (or Cuckoo Flower) had already been on flower for a week, and the first Garlic Mustard flowers showed on the verges of the country road. Another Peacock Butterfly was seen on cycle passage by the Tollbridge, Old Shoreham.
The common and widespread hoverflies were noted and a Common Bee-fly, Bombylius major. A Wren flitted between the mostly bare trees, but Hawthorn and Bramble were in leaf. Blackthorn had virtually ceased in blossom at Cuckoo's Corner and was in leaf, but was still in bloom south-east of the Tollbridge and elsewhere.
Adur Butterfly Report
Adur Flies 2017

30 March 2017
The sun shined in the afternoon (>15.2 ° C) and I cycled the Coombes Road to Botolphs and the flood plain south of Bramber (west of the River Adur). A pair of Mute Swans were feeding on Annington Sewer. Another pair fed on the Duckweed covered stream at Bramber.

Annington Sewer
BR: Azolla filiculoides, Water Fern

On the towpath by Botolphs three Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies were sparring by the Stinging Nettles intermittently visiting the flowering Lady's Smock next to the drainage streams.

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly, Cowslips, Blackthorn
Coltsfoot, Dotted Bee-fly, Lady's Smock

Botolphs. Bramber, Upper Beeding

Mute Swans at Bramber

Whirligig Beetles swam on the surface on the clear areas of the stream at Bramber. On the return journey a Peacock Butterfly appeared as the cyclepath narrowed north of the Cement Works (adjacent to Dacre Gardens). Coltsfoot was still in flower south of the Cement Works and my first two Dotted Bee-flies, Bombylius discolor, of the year visited the yellow drooping flowers of the frequent Cowslips. A small mushroomamongst the Cowslips was probably a Stropharia. Blackthornwas mostly in full bloom at its brief peak on the levels and the downs.

27 March 2017
With the sun shining under a blue sky and the highest air temperature this year recorded by the Met Office at 15.5 °C, butterflies were frequently in flight. My first bright yellow Brimstone Butterfly of the year fluttered around a large garden hedge at the western end of residential Rosslyn Road in Shoreham. I was already on my way on my deliberate trip to the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham, where I expected to see the signs of spring. Butterflies immediately fluttered above my head seeing the shadows cast before the actual butterflies of a faded first of a handful of mostly fair condition strong flying Peacock Butterflies, just the one smaller than usual Small Tortoiseshell, and a half dozen patrolling Brimstone Butterflies, that briefly visited flowering Dandelions. This was all within a few minutes on passage, but I decided to hang around to see if the Small Tortoiseshell would settle for a publishable photograph. Six times I spotted a flash of orange, but these were all different Comma Butterflies. A few Common Wasps, Honey Bees, other small bees, small hoverflies and Squash Bugs, Coreus, were noted as well as a small Nursery Web Spider.
Full Butterfly Report with Images

22 March 2017

On a muddy cycle ride along the Downs Link Cyclepath from Old Shoreham to Upper Beeding, the early flowering Coltsfoot was past its prime and the Cowslips were just beginning to flower with patches of white Sweet Violet and one clump of Primrose. Pussy Willow catkins were noted on a handful of small Willow trees. Moles had created mounds of earth. A dozen Rabbits ambled across the cyclepath in front of me as the light faded in the late afternoon. A Great Tit flitted around in the bare hedges.
Wild Flower Report
 

15 March 2017
By the towpath by the houseboats a butterfly fluttered over my head in the sunshine. It appeared as shadow and I had to wait a few minutes out for some more movement. Then three butterflies moved quickly in succession chasing each other off the resting places. Three of us were watching and we all saw three butterflies simultaneously. One was a Red Admiral and the other two were a first of the year Small Tortoiseshell and a first Peacock Butterfly.

 Whitlow Grass, Erophila verna
Ferry Road, Shoreham Beach

18 February 2017
A pair of Little Grebes were diving for food at mid-tide underneath the Adur Ferry Bridge. At a muddy Old Shoreham there were hundreds of mixed gulls roosting, glistening white in the sunshine that cast long shadows over the river mud. A small clump of Gorse was the only flowering colour.

6 February 2017
A Robin sang loudly from the bushes next to cyclepath in Old Shoreham, north of the Tollbridge. A Chaffinch and a Great Tit flew across the cyclepath from one bare hedge to another. The pastures on both side of cyclepath at Old Shoreham were sodden with standing patches of water that attracted a pair of Mallards.

The towpath next to the River Adur was muddy. On mid-tide in the river, several hundred Lapwings were seen on the mud on both sides of the Tollbridge, more than usually seen.  The river nosted the usual gullsand about fifty Common Gulls on the first bend upstream from Old Shoreham.

19 January 2017
There were three male Pheasants on the huge roundabout on the Steyning Road, north of Old Shoreham. This is south-west of Mill Hill. A pair of Mallards were seen in a very small stream in Bramber.

17 January 2017
A flock of over fifty (52+) Feral Pigeons continually wheeled to and fro over the Adur Ferry Bridge and River Adur just before dusk. I had not noticed such a large flock before.

6 January 2017

A Little Egret feeding at low tide at Old Shoreham

In fading light and a low tide in the afternoon and the annual bird count was added to by a handful of Greater Black-backed Gulls resting on the mud banks and a coupple of Lapwings in flight over the lowland horse pasture.

5 January 2017

Black-headed Gulls

A pair of Mute Swans swam at low tide, seen from the Ferry Bridge at dusk (Nautical Twilight).

3 January 2017

A distinct chill in the air and ice in the shallow puddles in the early afternoon trip to the Adur Flyover on the eastern bank of the River Adur, added the following firsts of the year in birdlife: Pied Wagtail, Crow, Starlings, Wood Pigeons, Feral Pigeons, a splendid Kingfisher flying above the hedge (its orange breast feathers more clearly seen than its sapphire wings), a few Blackbirds and querulous Robins.
 
 
 

White Poplar file
 

 Adur Levels and Estuary 2016


Adur Valley & Downs on facebook
Downs-Coastal Link Cyclepath


Adur Nature Notes 2017