Adur Levels and Estuary 2018
There must be a few fish or prawns in the River Adur at low tide by Ropetackle as a Little Egret was seen gulping prey twice in ten minutes.
19 December 2017
Poplar at Botolphs
and a thin layer of ice on some of the puddles even in the afternoon, made
for nearly treacherous cycling on the towpaths. but the Downs Link Cyclepath
was easily passable as I made the circular route to Botolphs and back along
the Coombes Road to Cuckoo's Corner and then by the slippery towpath to
the Tollbridge at Old Shoreham. There was
so very little of interest that a male Pheasant
across the country road near Coombes was worth a mention.
Adur Trees 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 Woods 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 Downs Link Cyclepath at Erringham Gap
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 Downs Link Path. A few flowers were photographed in the montage below but overall there is very little colour and hardly anything of interest.
Daisy, Bristly Ox-tongue, Red Clover,
Perennial Sow Thistle, Lesser Knapweed, Mayweed, Rough Hawkbit
Downs Link Cyclepath: Old Shoreham - Cement Works
Verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath, between Old Shoreham and the Cement Works
Adur Knapweed Studies
27 September 2017
28 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.
Castle Lane Park (adjacent to Clays HIll), Bramber, three species of dragonfly
were quickly seen by the pond: one Common
Darter, one Southern
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
The pond was surrounded by large clumps of Fleabane
and Water Mint.
A female Mallard
took flight and squawked loudly.
Wild Flowers 2017
Downs Link Cyclepath at Erringham Gap
Even with a constant breeze (Force 6) under a cloudy sky, I changed my mind cycling along the Downs 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
Under a cloudy sky and a constant breeze (Force 5) and the added gusts made photographing wild flowers very tricky on the Downs Link Path between Old Shoreham to just north of Erringham Gap.
Hemp Agrimony, Green-veined White, Common
Gatekeeper, female Common Blue
Downs Link Cyclepath between Old Shoreham and Erringham Gap
was even more tricky with the butterflies
blown about in the breeze: a few each of Red
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
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.
Vetch, Eyebright (tall),
Downs Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the Cement Works
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.
An unplanned cycle trip to Woods Mill (via Erringham Gap and Downs 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 Downs 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 Woods 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
Meadowsweet, Dark Mullein
Woods 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
Old Shoreham Towpath
spring flowers like Alexanders
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.
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 (Woods Mill) and occasional Speckled Woods (Tottington Wood).
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
flew to and fro over the big pond at Woods
Mill where it sparred with an Emperor
Woundwort was recorded at Woods Mill
Day Wild Flower Images
Tottington Wood (my visits)
Adur Butterfly List 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.
Mallow, Small Skipper,
White on Hardhead
Downs Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the fields south of Bramber
the height of summer, the sun shined in the middle of the day and
were very frequently seen on the verges of the Downs 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
Small Skippers, Marbled Whites and
Whites with occasional Small
Whites, at least one Ringlet,
one fresh Small Tortoiseshell,
one or two 6-spotted Burnet Moths, and
a few Gatekeepers.
Admiral was seen near Annington
Sewer, a Comma
and a Peacock
giving a tally of eleven different butterfly
species and one
Adur Butterfly List 2017
Going into the last month of summer, the verges of the Downs 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.
Common Centaury, Viper's
Bugloss, Lady's Bedstraw with
Bellflower, Gatekeeper, Yellow Rattle
Downs Link Cyclepath: Old Shoreham - Cement Works
a cloudy afternoon sky, on the cyclepath from
Old Shoreham to just south of the Cement Works, there was only occasional
a few Large Whites,
a few Meadow Browns
at least one fresh specimen, and a languid fluttering brown butterfly was
identified as a faded Ringlet.
crawled over the budding Common Ragwort.
Wild Flower Report
Pyramidal Orchids were out in force on the verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath where I saw my first two Ringlet Butterflies of the year.
11 June 2017
Spotted Orchids hidden amongst the vegetation
on the Downs Link Cyclepath
Knapweed (with Meadow
Spotted Orchids, Hardhead (=Lesser Knapweed)
Water Cress species, Pyramidal Orchid
Downs Link Cyclepath: Erringham Gap - Cement Works
the ninth successive day of windsurfer weather the summer
were blown about in the Fresh Breeze (Force
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
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
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.
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
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 Downs Link Cyclepath I spotted a budding Pyramidal Orchid near the Flyover.
Wild Flower Images
24 May 2017
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
Black Poplar, Populus
11 May 2017
Note the fresh green shoots of Glasswort
(I originally identified this as Small-leaved Linden (=Lime) Tilia cordata)
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.
Tip Butterfly, Dusky (=Black Widow) Cranesbill
I then cycled the busy road to Woods 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
Photograph by Etienne Fournier
River Adur, by Adur Recreation Ground/Adur Viaduct
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.
Near (south of) Coombes
Adur Tree Report
A pair of Oystercatchers mated at low tide underneath Adur Ferry Bridge in the late afternoon.
20 April 2017
at Cuckoo's Corner
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
18 April 2017
and cloudy, I cycled the downs route
against a Force 4
passing Mill Hill and north of Beeding
Hill down the narrow bridleway to Tottington
The bridlepath was a difficult passage for cycling, but rewarded with a
dozen Speckled Wood Butterflies,
a Green-veined White
and a Comma.
Wood, I spotted a handful of my first
Purple Orchids of the year with flowering
Wood Anemones and Primroses
in the shade of the trees.
Magic Map of Tottington Wood
Tottington Wood Reports
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.
an impromtu decision to cycle along the Downs
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
seen over the lowland fields at Botolphs.
Adur Butterfly List 2017
6 April 2017
Tip Butterfly, Wren, small
hoverfly (to be identified: Melanostoma
Common Bee-fly on Lady's Smock, Peacock Butterfly, Small Tortoiseshell
Ladywells and Cucloo's Corner
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,
and two Small Tortoiseshells
that all landed very briefly. Luckily an Orange
Tip did visit Green
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,
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Ferry Road, Shoreham Beach
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.
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.
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.
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
A pair of Mute Swans swam at low tide, seen from the Ferry Bridge at dusk (Nautical Twilight).
3 January 2017
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,
Pigeons, Feral Pigeons,
a splendid Kingfisher
above the hedge (its orange breast feathers
more clearly seen than its
a few Blackbirds