Adur Levels & Estuary 2019

21 December 2019

Great Black-backed Gull with an eel what it just stolen from a Cormorant
Report and Photographs by Istvan Radi
Wildlife & Conservation of Lancing, Sompting & Surrounds  facebook

A Great Black-backed Gull struggled with an eel on the mud of the River Adur by the Toll Bridge at Old Shoreham. The gull had previously stolen the eel from a Cormorant, and only managed to swallow it at the second attempt.

17 December 2019
On a misty early afternoon the first spots of rain were felt as the high tide at 5.8 metres (measured at Shoreham Harbour) covered the mud flats but not the vegetation north of the Toll Bridge at Old Shoreham. This enabled a few Lapwings to land. From the freshly chalk covered eastern river bank north of the Flyover I spotted the dart like flight of a Kingfisher low over the estuary. This deposited (by man) chalk obscured to a depth of 30 cm the only known local flowering area of the small white variant of Common Centaury.

28 October 2019
There was the first autumn chill in the air. On a dull cloudy day there was nothing noteworthy or colourful. Flowers were limited to patches of Bristly Ox-tongue and a few bedraggled Ox-eye Daisies on the verges of the the Downs Link Cyclepath on the way from the Railway Viaduct to the Erringham Gap (as far as I cycled north).

12 October 2019

There were more than forty Lapwings on the mud flats at mid-tide, north of the Tollbridge in the morning. A Little Egret fished in the shallows.

9 October 2019


About fifteen Lapwings were back on the mud flats at low tide, north of the Tollbridge.

2 October 2019

Downs Link Cyclepath at Old Shoreham

The workers had shorn the verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath all the way from the Railway Viaduct to the Erringham Gap (as far as I cycled north), mowing the plants and most of the remaining flowers to lawn height. Hawthorn, Rose Hips, Holly, Privet and Blackberry berries were in the hedgerows.

1 October 2019
The high equinoctial spring tide lapped against the highest banks and sea defences of the River Adur at Shoreham-by-Sea in the middle of the day. A flock of thirty Redshanks was easily disturbed from their dry land roosts. Then a flock of fifteen landed on the tidal wall between the new Ferry Bridge and the houseboats. It was the first time I had seen a flock of Redshanks on the Adur and I mistook them for Turnstones.

Wall Brown Butterfly

After four days of inclement weather, I was pleased to see a fresh Wall Brown Butterfly over the verges just south of the cyclepath crossroads at Old Shoreham. Bristly Ox-tongue attracted two common species of hoverflies. Mayweed was still flowering but this seems to be the later flowering plants of local provenance rather than the earlier flowering seeded crop? A single flowering spike of Hedge Woundwort was seen.
Adur Butterfly List 2019

Glasswort and Sea Blite
New growths on the western side of the widened River Adur by the Airport

8 September 2019

Wasp Spider, Marsh Woundwort
Purple Loosestrife*
Annington & Bramber*

A completely unplanned cycle ride produced unexpected results when the sun shined briefly. The first inkling was a Painted Lady Butterfly over the crowded Flyover Boot Sale on a field beneath Mill Hill in the late morning. Common Darters (dragonfly) frequently appeared over the Downs Link Cyclepath north of Erringham Gap, so I cycled on to Annington Sewer where I spotted my first Wasp Spider for several years spinning a web amongst some flowering Marsh Woundwort next to the drainage stream near the road bridge over the River Adur. A fine display of Purple Loosestrife showed where the stream ran alongside the Downs Link path through Bramber.
Adur Spiders

Brown Hairstreak, Pickerelweed, Weeping Willow
Comma Butterfly
Castle Lane Park

Castle Lane Park pond at Bramber was initially a hive of notable activity, a patrolling bright blue patterned dragonfly which I assumed was a Southern Hawker, a handful of Common Darters, a distinctive Volucella inanis hoverfly, a Red Admiral and a Comma Butterfly all within the first five minutes. A few Rudd were seen at the surface of the straw-coloured water. Pickerelweed was past its best in flower. I was surprised by a fast fluttering small orange butterfly which turned out to be a worn and slightly ragged Brown Hairstreak. I did not know what else it could be so it was not unexpected, but it was still a scarce and unusual discovery. This elusive butterfly disappeared after a minute. A Holly Blue Butterfly appeared later.
Adur Butterfly List 2019

1 September 2019
A Southern Hawker (dragonfly) flying five metres above the Downs Link Cyclepath north of Erringham Gap looked like it was a predator on the hunt.

Hoary Ragwort, Greater Knapweed
Downs Link Cyclepath north of Erringham Gap

25 August 2019

Ruddy Darter

At Bramber, the sandy coloured water of Castle Lane Park pond rippled at the surface with shoal of over a hundred Rudd could be seen in the bright sunshine. A pair of Emperor Dragonflies, Anax imperator, patrolled without stopping, but two pairs of Ruddy Darters were more engaged in copulation in flight. The tall blue flower with green arrow-shaped leaves in shallow water on the edge of the pond was Pickerelweed.

20 August 2019

A variety of Bramble
Downs Link Cyclepath, north of the Flyover

17 August 2019
A Small Copper Butterfly was seen on the Mayweed by the cyclepath in Old Shoreham.

Illustrated Report by Rob Finch  flickr

13 August 2019

Rosebay Willowherb
Downs Link Cyclepath, north of the Flyover

14 July 2019
A stunning male Banded Demoiselle (a damselfly), Calopteryx splendens, fluttered (like a butterfly) over the Chicory road verge at Erringham Gap. It stopped five times amongst the long grass and tall vegetation for less than a second each time and then disappeared. On the road side verge the demioselle was accompanied by a few Ringlet Butterflies, a few Small Skippers, a few Marbled Whites, a few 6-spotted Burnet Moths, at least one Meadow Brown and a Shaded Broad-bar Moth, Scotopteryx chenopodiata. The Buddleia was extensively in flower, but it only attracted two Large Whites near the Cement Works. Off the beaten track in fields/meadow next to the Downs Link Cyclepath there were frequent Marbled Whites, frequent Meadow Browns and occasional Gatekeepers.
Adur Dragons and Damsels 2019
Adur Butterfly List 2019

10 July 2019

Common Ragwort, Buddleia
Fleabane, Everlasting Pea, Dark Mullein
Downs Link Cyclepath between Ropetackle North and Dacre Gardens

Buddleia was extensively in flower and probably at its peak on the Downs Link Cyclepath between the new apartments under construction at Ropetackle North and Dacre Gardens, Upper Beeding. However, not a single butterfly was seen on the "butterfly plant" and there were not too many butterflies around in the cloudy late afternoon. A few Small Skippers were seen at Old Shoreham, frequent Meadow Browns needing to be disturbed, including some large females, occasional active Marbled Whites, and a sprinkling of Gatekeepers, Large Whites and one Ringlet.

Flowers had changed from the last report: Rosebay Willowherb and Hardheads (=Lesser Knapweed) were profuse, Melilot and Lady's Bedstraw were plentiful and Greater Knapweed was flowering, with Common Ragwort now showing, and the still very noticeable Pyramidal Orchids were past their best. Fleabane was growing on many of the verges and the first flowers of the year appeared. Two umbellifers, the Common Hogweed and the Wild Carrot were frequent with an occasional Fennel in the sun at Old Shoreham.

30 June 2019

Dark Mullein, Pyramidal Orchids, Viper's Bugloss
Downs Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the disused Cement Works
(TQ 20240 08042 unnamed)

29 June 2019
An Oystercatcher took to the air and repeatedly sounded its alarm call over the River Adur between the Norfolk Bridge and the Railway Viaduct at a very low tide on a very warm afternoon. Over the few garden flowers of Ropetackle near the Viaduct, A faded Painted Lady Butterfly and a pristine Peacock Butterfly briefly settled.

27 June 2019

Pyramidal Orchids, Purple Toadflax, Perforate St. John's Wort, Self-heal
Ringlet Butterfly
Cyclepath between Old Shoreham and Dacre Gardens (Upper Beeding)

Several hundred Pyramidal Orchids were the notable feature of the verges of the cyclepath between Old Shoreham and Dacre Gardens (Upper Beeding) and there there were the first flowersfor this year of Purple Toadflax, Perforate St. John's Wort, Burdock, Tufted Vetch and the small Self-heal. Six species of butterfly included two faded Painted Ladies, a fresh Comma, frequent Meadow Browns and at least three of my first Ringlets of the year.
Full Butterfly Report
Illustrated Flora Report

23 June 2019

Meadow Brown Butterflies, Cinnabar Moth on the verge, Woundwort, Pyramidal Orchid
White Bryony, Thick-legged Beetle on Creeping Cinquefoil
Downs Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the disused Cement Works

I spotted my first definite Marbled White Butterfly of the year over the verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the disused Cement Works. Meadow Brown Butterflies were frequently seen with one Small Heath Butterfly and two Cinnabar Moths. Flowers seen for the first time this year was Red Bartsia hidden amongst the dominant Ox-eye Daisies. Meadow Cranesbill was unexpected, perhaps seen for the first time on the verge. Field Bindweed was now in flower under the Flyover. The five-petalled White Bryony was seen climbing over the Woundwort at Old Shoreham.

22 June 2019

Roesel's Bush-cricket, Metrioptera roeselii
Adur Recreation Ground

A cricket was spotted amongst the long grasses and nettles on Adur Recreation Ground.
At first it was dismissed as just one of the four species of grasshopper found in Shoreham, until the photograph of the long antennae revealed it to be a cricket, the previously unrecorded (in Shoreham) Roesel's Bush-cricket, Metrioptera roeselii.

9 June 2019

Bladder Campion, Common Spotted Orchids, Bee Orchid, Pyramidal Orchid
Dotted Loosestrife, Hardhead
Downs Link Cyclepath near the Cement Works

On the verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath near the Cement Works on a cloudy midday, I spotted one each of the following: Red Admiral, Common Blue Butterfly, Meadow Brown Butterfly, Speckled Wood, and a Cinnabar Moth. I also spotted the following flowers amongst the swathes of Ox-eye Daisies: hidden Common Spotted Orchids, a single spike of Bee Orchid, and budding Pyramidal Orchids. Yellow Rattle and Crosswort were frequently in flower and there was a patch of Dotted Loosestrife. Elsewhere in the verges there were clumps of Bladder Campion, and my first of the year Hardheads (a knapweed) and first Greater Bird's Foot Trefoil.
Adur Butterfly List 2019
Adur Orchids

2 June 2019
Summer arrived with the first orchids in flower on the eastern sunnier verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the disused Cement Works. Flowers seen in amongst the abundant Ox-eye Daisies for the first time this year included the natives Common Spotted Orchid and Yellow Rattle, the alien Dotted Loosestrife. I cursorily looked for Bee Orchids without success, but I did find a budding Pyramidal Orchid.

Common Blue Butterflies were first seen on the shadier verges on a sunny midday, but only a few actually seen. A first of the summer Meadow Brown Butterfly was clearly spotted on the sunnier verge of the Downs Link Cyclepath near the disused Cement Works. A definite Green-veined White visited the abundant Ox-eye Daisies on the cyclepath verges north of the Tollbridge. A Holly Blue Butterfly fluttered around my tiny front garden in Shoreham.

19 May 2019
I spotted my first Azure Damselfly of the year in the field next to Ladywells on the Coombes Road. It was with a teneral Large Red Damselfly.
Adur Damselflies 2019

14 May 2019

Cows Parsley near Dacre Gardens, Upper Beeding

I spotted my first Swallow of 2019 over Erringham Gap and a second on over the Downs Link Cyclepath at Upper Beeding by the South Downs Way Bridge over the River Adur. Columbine was flowering in a few plants on the verge of the Downs Link Cyclepath at the Old Shoreham end dominated by Crosswort and Germander Speedwell.
The hoverfly Helophilus pendulus visited the newly flowering Ox-eye Daisies near Annington Sewer.

1 May 2019

Green-veined White Butterfly

Alas, the auto-focus on my camera would not work on the whites of the Green-veined White Butterfly on the southern part of the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham, (which doubles up as a Footpath 3138 and was once public land in living memory, part of Mill Hill and the walking access route to the downs). The prime photograph was far from sharp as I would have liked and once disturbed the two white butterflies would not settle again. Instead, I was distracted by insect activity, a dozen Squash Bugs, Coreus, including two mating pairs, my first Large Red Damselfly of the year, a Red Admiral Butterfly, first of the year hoverfllies, the distinctive Rhingia campestris and the usually obliging Myathropa florea. Lastly, the orange vanessid butterfly that flew over the Waterworks Road was probably a Comma.

30 April 2019

Orange-tip Butterfly 

A female Orange-tip Butterfly near Coombes was ample reward for a cycle ride which originally going too be a brief afternoon jaunt to Cuckoo's Corner, but I cycled further up the Coombes Road. It was fortunate as I caught a glimpse of a white butterfly and I just wanted to see if it was a Small White or Green-veined White seen earlier visiting the opportunistic plants on the tidal defence new embankment (on the realigned Pill Box Way) next to the Airport. I did glimpse a small brown butterfly or moth on Adur Recreation Ground near the Railway Viaduct, but this was a too much of a fleeting look for identification. I also spotted the target butterfly, a strong-flying male Orange-tip, on the short incline from Cuckoo's Corner to the junction to Applesham Farm.
Adur Butterfly List 2019

Field Pansy, White Campion
Pill Box Way Bank

The first flowering colonisers on the exposed Pill Box Way Bank were the predictable Oil Seed Rape, hundreds of White Campion, scores of Hoary Cress,  a surprise (probably seeded?) group of the violet Field Pansy, Viola arvensis, with plenty of leaf flora not yet in bloom. It will be interesting to see what flowers emerge? At the side of the exposed towpath from the Tollbridge to Cuckoo's Corner, there were plenty of Stinging Nettles, plus flowering Cow Parsley and White Deadnettle the most noticeable flora. On the shady verges of the Coombes Road there was the common Garlic Mustard. Red Campion and Bluebells were frequent and noted especially underneath the raucous Rook nest canopy.

19 April 2019

Mallard, Robin
 Cuckoo Flower, Mute Swan on its nest
Woods Mill

A motorised trip to Woods Mill produced my first ever sight of the huge eggs of the Mute Swan on its nest. There were a few restless butterflies in the sun including my first male Orange-tips of the year, a tatty Peacock and a very lively Brimstone Butterfly. One Orange-tip stopped on a Cuckoo Flower for just a second. A pair of Mallards had ducklings in tow on the main pond.

Tottington Wood filtered the sunlight through the tree tops making photographing the ground flora very tricky which was not helped by the woody debris. However, the main barrier to a capturing the Bluebell swathes was the extensive anti-Deer fencing. Wood Anemones, Lesser Celandine, Primroses and Dog Violets were common on the edge of the narrow paths through the wood. Speckled Wood Butterflies were seen as I walked through the wood.

15 April 2019
Blackthorn had lost its flowers and Hawthorn was budding at Cuckoo's Corner but further up the Coombes Road by Ladywells Stream and the scout's hut (Streamside) Blackthorn was still flowering. Garlic Mustard was beginning to flower on the Coombes Road verges as well as the first of the Spanish Bluebells. In the afternoon breeze there were no butterflies. I disturbed a pair of Mallards, which took flight from the stream opposite Ladywell's House. I spotted my first House Martin of the year over the River Adur north of the Tollbridge from the western towpath.

12 April 2019

Adur Estuary
Photograph by Sylvia Lemoniates

8 April 2019


Blackthorn dominated the white blossom plentiful in the hedgerows and amongst the scrub on the downs. Cherry Plum had virtually finished and so had the early Blackthorn, but Hawthorn was yet to flower in the wild. Alexanders attracted frequent small to medium hoverfly species: notably Syrphus, Eristalis, the small Sphaerophoria scripta, first of the year Myathropa florea, as well as few bees, bumblebees, Honey Bees and Common Wasps.
Cowslips were common on the verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath between the Erringham Gap and the Cement Works. Two 7-spot Ladybird were seen on White Deadnettle underneath the Adur Flyover.
I spotted a Speckled Wood Butterfly at Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes Road.
Adur Butterflies 2019

29 March 2019
Blackthorn was in flower and Hawthorn was in leaf at Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes Road. Rooks were nest occupying in the very tall trees near Cuckoo's Corner.
Adur Trees & Shrubs 2019

25 March 2019
A Common Bee-fly visited the first few Cowslips on the the verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath south of the Cement Works. Two Peacock Butterflies sparred, or courted, over the same path, a half mile, or so, further south. Blackthorn was in flower near  the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham.

20 March 2019
A Brimstone Butterfly was seen by the River Adur.

Report by Tracy
Adur Butterflies 2019

14 March 2019

European Cormorant fishing

Four Cormorants were seen between the Tollbridge and the Norfolk Bridge at mid-tide on a dull day with a stiff breeze blowing from the north. At least two were seen actively fishing, with the one photographed, it looked as though it was having difficulty getting its prey down its narrow gullet.
The difference between our native Cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo carbo, and the continental sub-species, Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis, is very subtle -  the best single character is the shape of the gular pouch (an orange area of flesh on the face used to hold food). Ref. The illustrated Cormorant may be the European sub-species?

A half dozen Greater Black-backed Gulls hunkered down on the small amount of exposed mud.

1 March 2019

Goldfinch, Grey Heron
Mallards, Grey Heron, Redshank

Old Shoreham to the Cement Works

A Grey Heron showed plus three pairs of Mallards on the River Adur on a low tide by the Cement Works. The young Redshank was one of two actively feeding by the Tollbridge at Old Shoreham, but there were only gulls and no Lapwingson the exposed mud banks. The Goldfinch was solitary and singing for a mate on the edge of the Downs Link Cyclepath near the Erringham Gap, north of the Flyover.

Jackdaw at Old Shoreham

Compared with other corvids, the Jackdaw spends more time exploring and turning over objects with its bill; it also has a straighter and less downturned bill and increased binocular vision which are advantageous for this foraging strategy.  Ref. I would say Crows and Magpies are more inquisitive (Andy).

27 February 2019

Main Pond, Woods Mill

19 February 2019


There were half a dozen Lapwings on the exposed mud north of the Tollbridge on the low spring tide in the afternoon

15 February 2019

Silver Birch
Downs Link Cyclepath near (north of) the Erringham Gap

There were hundreds of Common Gulls and other gulls on the River Adur mud banks, but the Lapwings were not seen at low tide

 Adur Levels and Estuary 2018

Adur Valley & Downs on facebook
Downs-Coastal Link Cyclepath

Adur Nature Notes (Link)                     2018