Adur Levels and Estuary 2019
30 November 2018
Lapwings at Old Shoreham
A flock of a hundred plus Lapwings were back on the mud flats nearest to the Tollbridge at low tide in the afternoon. They were very skitty, and after five minutes something spooked the whole flock and the big mud flat to the north of the Tollbridge was bare again. The Lapwings flew around a bit and then decamped to the mud on the inside of the meander bank almost underneath the Flyover.
The mud flats nearest to the Tollbridge at low tide were almost empty of birds with two Little Egrets but no Lapwings. On the Downs Link verges in Old Shoreham, a White Campion was spotted still in flower.
On the Downs Link verges in Old Shoreham, Red Campion was spotted still in flower, blown about in the breeze.
8 October 2018
Heron and Little
First bend on the River Adur north of the Tollbridge
Four Grey Herons stood statuesque on the River Adur saltings between the Ferry Bridge and the Norfolk Bridge on the falling tide in the afternoon. A Speckled Wood Butterfly fluttered amongst the row of Elms just above where the high tide laps against the A27 main road between the Norfolk Bridge and the small bridge to the tidal pool known as the Flood Arches. Some of the Elm leaves curled up with brown edges because of disease rather than the salt in the air. The mud flats nearest to the Tollbridge were almost empty of birds with no Lapwings.
There were hundreds of Common Gulls and other gulls on the River Adur mud banks, but the Lapwings had not yet returned at low tide.
16 September 2018
Four Grey Herons flying very low over the Downs Link Cyclepath just north of the Flyover (100 metres north of the Wood Heron) were my surprise in the middle of the day. They are very large birds and their sudden appearance all at the same time, and not much above the height of the hedgerows, legs outstretched (landing gear down), came as a bit of a shock. They sent hundreds of Common Gulls into flight, under a cloudy sky, before they landed on the nearby mudflats of the River Adur (out of sight).
Ragwort, Sunflower, Common Blue Butterfly
Down's Link Cyclepath
There were a few butterflies along the Down's Link Cyclepath from south of the Cement Works, notably a male Common Blue in good condition. There were still a few flowers amongst the mostly dead verges, notably a newly flowering Bellflower. Hoary Ragwort exceeded Common Ragwort in numbers. And there were a few Sunflowers at Old Shoreham.
An immigrant Clouded Yellow Butterfly was seen flying near the Tollbridge, Old Shoreham in the middle of the day.
In the sunshine, at high tide, there was considerable commotion at Ladywells Inlet (by Cuckoo's Corner) in the murky waters where there were a dozen small shoals of what looked like Sand Smelt rippled the surface. There may have also been shoals of young Grey Mullet and juvenile Bass. Three of the larger shoals were well in excess of a hundred fish and three times in ten minutes they were send shooting in a triangular formation by a huge splash which was probably predation by a much larger fish, almost certainly a Bass.
15 July 2018
In the warmth of midday sun under a clear blue sky, a passage visit along the Downs Link Cyclepath from Erringham Gap and a stop on the verge south of the Cement Works with the butterflies, skippers and moths all hiding in the undergrowth. They were all very restless after being spotted: an occasional each of male Common Blues, Meadow Browns, Small Skippers, Large Whites, Small Whites, frequent 6-spotted Burnet Moths, but no Gatekeepers seen. There was at least one each of Marbled White, one Small Copper one Brown Argus. and one Silver Y Moth.
13 July 2018
afternoon short cycle ride along the Downs Link Cyclepath from Old Shoreham
to the Cement Works was not expected to feature anything noteworthy, just
a low tally of butterflies with frequent
Whites, Large Whites. Green-veined Whites
and two Marbled Whites,
and Small Skippers,
each of a Large Skipper
and a Red Admiral. 6-spotted Burnet Moths
frequently seen on the purple
were undoubtedly under recorded because of the tall and dense vegetation
on the verges. A Robin's Pincushion Gall
was discovered on a verge near the Cement Works.
Adur Butterfly List 2018
Fleabane, Red Bartsia, Bellflower, Marjoram
Flowers noted for the first time this year were the small Red Bartsia in the undergrowth and the yellow Meadow Vetchling. A blue Bellflower stood out from the Melilot, Wild Carrot and Hardheads. Buddleia and Rosebay Willowherb brought some colour in the sun. Hemp Agrimony and Marjoram were starting to flower and both will attract butterflies later in the month. On the shady verges (west side), Hogweed and Greater Willowherb were prominent. The first Fleabane was flowering.
Without a hint of rain the sun and extra humidity produced a haze and the flowers were dry and the old ones were wilting from lack of water.
Peacock Butterfly at Cuckoo's Corner
Some of the larger butterflies may have been suffering too. The illustrated Peacock Butterfly had a damaged wing. In the early evening other butterflies seen were a Speckled Wood at Cuckoo's Corner, Small Skippers in Old Shoreham by the Tollbridge, and Large Whites everywhere.
4 July 2018
Adur Recreation Ground
There were more Small Skippers in the Marsh Woundwort and other flowery patch between the semi-circular path and the Flood Arches, and more visiting the multitude of alien flowers on the seeded patch on Adur Recreation Ground.
A score or more Green-veined White Butterflies were seen on the warmest day of the year over the verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and Old Shoreham.
Adur Butterfly List 2018
28 June 2018
Adur Recreation Ground
What a difference a few days make: on the small seeded patch the orange poppies were now accompanied by frequent blue and purple flowers. Identifiable blooms recorded on this parched patch on Adur Recreation Ground in order of prominence were California Poppy Eschscholzia californica, Mugwort, Purple Bugloss Echium plantagineum, Borage, Oriental Poppies Papaver pseudoorientale, and fancy-coloured Cornflowers, with scattered plants of unknown identity with one scarlet flower.
Bright and noticeable in the morning sunshine, my first Marbled White Butterfly of the year was very lively over the parched verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the disused Cement Works site. All but one of the fifteen or so butterflies seen were restless and followed my first Ringlet of the year for a minute before it settled briefly and I was sure of its identity. Other lively butterflies were a few each of Large Whites, Small Whites and Meadow Browns. The exception was a Comma Butterfly that remained still, with its wings closed, on a Burdock.
Daisies were wilting at Old Shoreham but
the seeded beds were very colourful with Mayweed,
Corn Marigold, Cornflower
and a newly flowering Corn Cockle.
Thistle joined Creeping
Thistle and Welted
Thistle in flower,
and the umbels of Wild
Carrot were plentiful and the first flowers
of Hawkweed Ox-tongue
were seen amongst the shoulder high verges.
Adur Wild Flowers 2018 Part 2
On the southern edge of a parched Adur Recreation Ground there was a confirmed Welted Thistle near Little Norfolk Bridge taking the road over the Flood Arches. It looks like the long grass meadows have been seeded with semi-natural plants especially the California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica..
17 June 2018
Orchid, Creeping Thistle, Meadow Brown
Common Spotted Orchid, Dotted Loosestrife
Downs Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the disused Cement Works
with drops of rain in the air, but the breeze had reduced to a few fresh
gusts: I disturbed a few Meadow
Butterflies in the meadow-like verges
of the Downs Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the disused Cement
Works site. On the verges the green vegetation was already waist height
dominated by Hardheads
with hundreds of flowering heads, hundreds of Ox-eye
Daisies, abundant Melilot
with a few flowers, and adorned with
over a hundred each of Common Spotted Orchids
and Pyramidal Orchids,
many which were hidden from view because of the dense foliage.
16 June 2018
Smooth Hawk's-beard Crepis
visited by a Large Skipper
Adur Recreation Ground
about terribly in the breeze (Force
5) it proved too tricky to capture a publishable
photograph of my first Large
Skipper of the year visiting White
Clover amongst the long grasses at the
Arches end of Adur
Recreation Ground. The grasses were
blowing about much too much and I could not get a clear shot. Fumitory
was then spotted hidden amongst the long grasses. Swaying in the wind the
crimson of the Opium Poppies
and a large spike of Viper's Bugloss,
a single Slender Thistle,
the purple Common
and the yellow of Bristly Ox-tongue
were larger and more noticeable.
Adur Wild Flowers 2018
9 June 2018
Daisy, Dog Rose, Common Spotted Orchid
Pyramidal Orchid, Hardhead
Downs Link Cyclepath meadow-like verges: Old Shoreham to south of the Cement Works
5 June 2018
Spotted Orchid, Cut-leaved Cranesbill
Common Daisy, Ox-eye Daisy, Mayweed, Nettle-tap Moth, Hedge Woundwort
Downs Link Cyclepath: Old Shoreham to Erringham Gap
3 June 2018
Water Dropwort, Common Spotted Orchid, Cornflower
Ox-eye Daisy, Lesser Stitchwort
Downs Link Cyclepath: Erringham Gap to Old Shoreham
the late morning, three Common Spotted
Orchids and Ox-eye
Daisies were seem immediately amongst
the meadow-like verges at Erringham Gap on the Downs Link Cyclepath. It
was south of the Flyover that a large
group of umbellifers grew on the western
verge nearer the River
Adur. These were thought to be Hemlock
Water Dropwort. Just north of the Tollbridge
a solitary Cornflower
may be a garden escape on the disturbed land covered in Oil
Seed Rape, buttercups and Dock.
Lastly, I spotted much smaller colonisers, Lesser
Stitchwort, distinguished from the Greater
Stitchwort by narrower petals, and the
unmistakable Scarlet Pimpernel.
It was very much a mixed bag after leaving the downs: around the pond in Castle Lane Park, Bramber, numerous damselflies flitted between the reeds and pondside plants. The small blue ones were difficult to get close to identify, (Azure or Common Blue?), but there were also a half a dozen or more of the unmistakable Blue-tailed Damselflies. At least two much larger dragonflies hawked amongst the reeds and the damselflies were very quick to get out of their way. They did not stop for for me to get a very clear look at them, but I saw enough to determine it could only be a Hairy Dragonfly, Brachytron pratense. After a few minutes, a shoal of small Rudd appeared, my first freshwater fish of the year. A Peacock Butterfly fluttered over my head.
At Annington Sewer, I was very surprised to spot a small brown Tench in the clear water by what looked like a sluice gate. It was identified by its fin arrangements. Another Peacock Butterfly fluttered over me.
Adur Damsels & Dragonflies 2018
17 May 2018
Hawthorn on Mill Hill and on the hedgerows of the Downs Link Cyclepath
Terry Thomas, angler
Apart from the glorious Hawthorn, there was not much to see apart from a few butterflies including a Holly Blue and probable Green-veined Whites in the breezy sunshine. On the flood spring tide, experienced angler Terry Thomas caught eight juvenile Bass and a Flounder on crab bait on the main River Adur junction with Ladywell's Stream inlet. The bites ceased after the tide turned. Over the far (east) bank a Kestrel hovered briefly.
16 May 2018
Old Erringham with Hawthorn in blossom in the foreground
Despite the dull and breezy weather, the Hawthorn bordering the Downs Link Cyclepath between Old Shoreham and Upper Beeding was blossoming spectacularly as it was on Mill Hill and in the roadside hedges and field boundaries of the patchwork landscape.
15 May 2018
Mute Swan and cygnets at Woods Mill
On the big pond, the pair of Mute Swans at Woods Mill had seven cygnets in tow. The Little Grebes had young as well, mostly in the middle amongst the lily pads. Scores of bright blue Azure Damselflies, Coenagrion puella, occasional Large Red Damselflies and frequent Beautiful Demoiselles, Calopteryx virgo, skirted the vegetation of the fish less ponds and streams of the Nature Reserve. A female a Broad-bodied Chaser, Libellula depressa, patrolled incessantly over the still water.
Cow Parsley and Hawthorn at Upper Beeding
11 May 2018
Hawthorn was making itself dominant in the landscape north of Shoreham. The bright white flowers were everywhere in the hedges of the Downs Link Cyclepath from Old Shoreham to Erringham and obviously further afield. About half the trees/shrubs seemed to be flowering, others budding and some yet to bud. There were more flowers higher up the tree out of camera reach for close-ups.
8 May 2018
Bugle, Red Campion
25 April 2018
Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes Road
It was almost shirt-sleeves weather on the coast under a blue sky: 18.3 °C at 9:00 am but a southerly gentle breeze (Force 3) blew amongst the haze and it was down to 17.7 °C at midday in Shoreham. I cycled upcountry where it was appreciably warmer and no breeze felt.
I cycled the Downs Link from Old Shoreham to Bramber Castle and for the first time I followed the roads through the outskirts of Steyning and then along flowering Blackthorn-lined paths through the fields at Wyckham crossing the still tidal River Adur at Stretham, I noted my first Swallow of the year over Greenfields. The route was boring and bumpy with minimal ascents and descents but the loose surface with occasional hazards (bumps in the path that could derail a cyclist) that needed a proper mountain bike to deal with the ruts and loose rocks. North of Stretham, the footpath to Small Dole had a stile and a No Cycling sign, so I cycled almost to Henfield and spent too much time cycling back on the busy and dangerous A2037.
Pasture by the River Adur at Stretham
familiar route to Bramber showed frequent butterflies:
occasional Small Whites, Green-veined Whites,
and at least one Peacock.
North of Steyning there were small Comma
Butterflies and my first Speckled
Wood of the year in fresh condition. At
Mill at least one male Orange-tip
was very lively and it was fifteen minutes before it it visited a Cuckoo
flower. This was my first of the year
for this attractive little butterfly
of the wetland margins. I also spotted my first Holly
Blue of the year.
Adur Butterfly List 2018
Two Mute Swans on their nest at Woods Mill
13 April 2018
Bumblebee, Syrphus hoverfly,
Green Shield Bug
was an overcast rather murky day, but it seemed at last spring had arrived
with the Blackthorn
finally in flower on the Waterworks Road,
and a handful of the early bumblebees,
Adur Trees & Shrubs 2018
11 April 2018
Cowslips were flowering on the verges of the Downs Link Path from Old Shoreham north to the Cement Works. At the northern end I spotted the hybrid False Oxlip, Primula veris x vulgaris.
27 March 2018
back to the Waterworks Road,
to confirm the bush of the previous day was Cherry
Plum, but also noted the first flowers
had appeared on one bush opposite on the southern side of the road by the
26 March 2018
the southern footpath end of the Waterworks
Road, the only flowering
Cherry Plum attracted my first Peacock
Butterfly of the year and like the first
Butterfly seen a minute afterwards were
enticed out of winter hibernation by a brief spell of sunshine in the early
on the mud flats north of the Tollbridge
From about 10 am to 11 am on the River Adur mud flats at low tide there was a flock of twenty Avocet between the Railway Viaduct and Tollbridge, quite unsettled and often taking to the air.
21 March 2018
A distinct wind chill could still be felt under a blue sky on a short cycle ride along the Downs Link Cyclepath from Old Shoreham to the disused Cement Works at Upper Beeding. I disturbed a male Mallard on the chalk stream near the Erringham Gap. The cyclepath verges were shorn from last year but there were occasional yellow flowers: Daffodils, Coltsfoot and Lesser Celandine.
was still standing water in the lowland meadows next to the river on the
same latitude as Erringham.
The turf I stood on was waterlogged.
The weather was pleasant enough to spot my first bumblebee of the year, a Buff-tailed Bumblebee visited a flower shop in Lancing.
With the leaves yet to appear on the trees, birds like Wrens and Blue Tits were seen flying amongst the bare branches on a cycle ride along the Downs Link path to Botolphs and back along the Coombes Road where Rooks were cawing in the tree tops south of Coombes. A pair of Mallards were seen beneath the weir at Ladywells Penstock. There were numerous gulls on the Adur mudflats at Old Shoreham but no Lapwings at mid-tide.
tree on the Adur Levels south of Coombes
The land has been drained and is now used for growing crops rather than hay meadow or pasture
A few wild flowers were noted: Sweet Violets were seen near Withy Gap in Lancing. Lesser Celandine appeared on the grass verges in north Lancing and on the verges of the Coombes road near Coombes, where Snowdrops and Daffodils were still flowering. On the Downs Link Cyclepath south of the Cement Works, Coltsfoot flowers were just appearing.
6 March 2018
Positively balmy and calm compared to the snow of a few days ago, an Oystercatcher trotted to and fro on the half tide's muddy edge by Ropetackle. It quickly flew off, but Black-headed Gulls, in summer breeding livery, continued feeding snapping at tiny prey above the mud. At Old Shoreham, the large mud flat north of the Tollbridge was exposed hosting over a hundred roosting gulls and a Redshank, but no Lapwings.
27 February 2018
Old Shoreham in the Snow
Braving a north-easterly wind chill below freezing, it really wasn't worth it as under the blue sky very little moved. I disturbed a Moorhen on a flooded stream near Ladywells and spotted a Kestrel amongst the bare tree tops at Cuckoo's Corner.
Squelchy mud and standing water off the Downs Link Cyclepath stuck to the hard surfaces on a circular unplanned cycle ride from Ropetackle to Botolphs and back along the Coombes Road in the late afternoon. Hazel catkins showed on a single tree next to the Silver Birch trees north of the Erringham Gap on the cyclepath. Otherwise there was not much colour or movement. Snowdrops showed in abundance in Botolphs churchyard and in the semi-wild near Coombes where I spotted a solitary Lesser Celandine in flower. At Botolphs I was fortunate to spot a male Kestrel in level flight at eye level for a second.
Downs Link Cyclepath near the Erringham Gap
avellana, is a deciduous
broadleaf tree native to the British Isles.
Catkin: a downy, hanging flowering spike of trees such as Willow and Hazel, pollinated by the wind.
At Old Shoreham by the Tollbridge, the Lapwing flock was in excess of a hundred with as many still roosting on the mud flats. Over north Shoreham a murmuration of a thousand plus Starlings on passage at half four was in the proportions seen over the ruins of the West Pier at Brighton.
1 February 2018
My first Snowdrop of the year was seen in a Lancing garden. A flock of seventy or so Lapwings wheeled in unison over the Tollbridge at Old Shoreham before settling on the Adur estuary mud at low tide.
16 January 2018
Mud and water was everywhere with the Ladywells Stream by the Scout Hut on the Coombes Road flowing strongly over the weir. A score and more of Lapwings perched on the river mud with a few Redshanks and a Cormorant fanning its wings north of the Tollbridge.
At low tide on the River Adur by Ropetackle a LIttle Grebe was swept quickly down stream in the rapids, but dived into the shallow water. A single Oystercatcher patrolled the gravel tideline as the light quickly faded..