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NATURE NOTES
2000

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Adur Valley Wildlife
.
Nature Notes 
Spring 2001: April - June
Shoreham-by-Sea & the Lower Adur Valley

* If the grid references are not given they could be found on the 
Adur Wildlife database on the Adur eForum

 
ADUR NATURE NOTES 2001
WINTER JANUARY - MARCH
SPRING APRIL - JUNE
SUMMER JULY - SEPTEMBER
AUTUMN OCTOBER - DECEMBER

30 June 2001
Sea Watch Foundation Cetacean Workshop
Lancing Manor Leisure Centre
Run by Steve Savage (Regional Co-ordinator)
This is the first of three workshops (the second one is on 7 July 2001) on the identifications of cetaceans, i.e.. whales and dolphins, including these sea mammals seen off the Sussex coast.
This first session will provide background to the work of Sea Watch and an introduction to our work locally and how people can get involved.
Contact via Adur DC is Natalie Brahma-Pearl (Tel: 01273 263347)
Sea Watch Foundation
Sussex Dolphins web page
BMLSS Cetaceans

28 June 2001
Shoreham Beach Nature Reserve
There will be meeting to discuss the future of the vegetated shingle at Shoreham Beach, with experts from English Nature, Adur District Council and West Sussex County Council. The question of Nature Reserve status will be discussed. 
The meeting is at the Church of the Good Shepherd Hall and starts at 7:00 pm.

Information from Duncan Morrison (Adur District Council)
The idea of the Shoreham Beach Nature Reserve received a mixed reception, with the majority in support, many undecided and a few objectors. 

27 June 2001
There were two calling male Quail heard from the path from Thundersbarrow Hill (north of Southwick Hill) to Five Ways last night, at around 9:30. There was also a possible calling female to the north west of Lancing College on the same evening. 
There were no Quail calling late in the evening at Steepdown, north-west of Lancing Clump (on the path to Cissbury Ring), but this is possibly an encouraging sign of breeding as at least one male had been calling in the area for two  weeks.
Sussex Ornithological Society Report

Report by Dave Green


26 June 2001
The scores of butterflies on Mill Hill were Small Heath Butterflies (pic) and/or Meadow Browns (pic). These two species were flying strongly amongst the longer  grasses and I found it difficult to be 100% sure of their identification. They always settled with their wings closed and at least one did not appear to have a pair of eye-spots on the light brown upperside of their wings. The Meadow Brown is a much larger butterfly than the Small Heath, so I think most of them were Meadow Browns, although I find size hard to judge with strong-flying insects.
The first Greater Knapweed begin to flower. (pic).
Butterflies (Bioimages)

25 June 2001
Clean Air Talk by Adur District Council (Tim Bartlett & Natalie Brahma-Pearl) at the Tarmount Studios  7:00 pm
Messages on Adur Air Quality

Pyramidal Orchids could be seen on the Old Shoreham to Beeding cycleway, but only an occasional Red Admiral butterfly and not much to see in the heat at 24° C. The towpath on the west side was overgrown and nearly impassable by bicycle.

24 June 2001
A very small garden pond (TQ  219 063) in The Drive, Shoreham-by-Sea, (near Buckingham Park) was visited by a male Blue-tailed Damselfly (the male identified by its blue head and thorax), Ischnura elegans, and a small white moth, possibly a common species, fluttered amongst the waterside plants. Froglets crawled over the lily pads, where one lily was in flower, but most of the frog tadpoles were still black with only one pair of rear legs in many cases. The tadpoles develop much more slowly in crowded garden ponds and many fail to develop at all before the winter. 

21 June 2001
The weather remained sunny if not particularly warm at 22° C for the Summer Solstice, and at night Mars shined brightly to the south before midnight, and looked silver-pinkish through the binoculars in the clear Moonless sky. No detail could be seen in low-powered 10 x 25 binoculars.

18 June 2001
A small shoal of juvenile first year Pollack, Pollachius pollachius, came as a great surprise to me on a mussel collecting expedition at Kingston beach. In well over a thousand observations I have never seen shoals of these fry before. The mid-water shoals are usually Sand Smelt Atherina presbyter; Bass, Dicentrarchus labrax; or Grey Mullet, Chelon labrosus. Pollack shoals are are a characteristic of Cornish and Devon estuaries. At first the back of the tiny fish up to 40 mm long looked a coppery colour so I suspected a Pouting, Trisopterus luscus, but even in the postlarvae the more streamlined nature of the Pollack was clear, but if any doubt was needed the marked gaps between the three dorsal fins was decisive. The fish also lacked the barbel of the Pouting. Out of sunlight the back looks more greenish-brown. The shoal numbered about 200, maybe more, as my view was obscured. Thousands of Sea Gooseberries shared the same sea as the juvenile Pollack. 

Dogwhelks, Nucella lapillus, have just returned to this shore after an absence from 1982. They are all old specimens and even 20 years I do not recall any eggs. With a covering of mud, one Dogwhelk could be mistaken for a Common Whelk, Buccinum undatum, especially as its size at 52 mm is bigger than average. Dogwhelks usually average about 20 mm to 30 mm, and specimens can reach 60 mm. On Kingston beach, they still need looking for, and are rarely below 35 mm in length.

The woolly caterpillar of the Garden Tiger Moth, Arctia caja, crawled over the tarpaulin in the basket of my Pashley delivery bicycle in the front garden of my home in Corbyn Crescent, east of central Shoreham. 

17 June 2001
Over McIntyres field near Lancing Ring, House Martins, Swallows and Swifts dissect the air with  precision flying as they collect airborne food on the wing. Over farm buildings at Sompting and at the nearby Open Space near St Mary's Close all three species were seen in spectacular form as they darted around buildings and over hedgerows.  (TQ 156 052)

Report by Ray Hamblett
16 June 2001
black wild Rabbit was reported the population of bunnies at Lancing Down, Sussex (TQ 180 062). This is not thought to be an escaped domestic rabbit, but a colour strain present in the wild population and reported occasionally from all parts of Britain. 
Report by Veronica Eltringham (FOLR)
14 June 2001
Red Valerian (Photograph by David Wood)The shingle beach at Shoreham beach along to the Widewater is a colourful sight with Red Valerian (red and white) , Viper's Bugloss (blue), Sea Thrift (pink), Sea Kale (white), Tree Mallow (crimson, not so much as usual), Yellow-horned Poppy, Silver Ragwort and a few garden flowers particularly colourful as expected during the best month of June. A party of school children, pencils and pads in their hand were on a field trip near the Church of the Good Shepherd.

Common Tern (Photograph by Nick Jouault)11 June 2001
Offshore from Brooklands Boating Lake, Common Terns, with their distinctive forked tails, swept low over the sea that was showing the first signs of white horses, and descended to take a feed from just below the surface in one swift swoop. Black-headed Gulls, in breeding livery with a completely dark (brown) head, were attempting the same manoeuvre without the same elegance. A half dozen Cormorants congregated around the post marking the outlet pipe, occasionally diving under. This is a regular flocking area for these fish eating birds with frequently up to 29 birds that can be quickly counted. 
Sea Birds Portfolio (Photographs by Nicolas Jouault)

The Ringed Plover reveals itself by its swift running over the shingle. Without moving it is too well camouflaged and difficult to spot. The summer residents birds and much plumper than the lean winter visitors. As the tide ebbs and the water recedes, more (a half dozen in 50 metres of sand) of these small birds appear on the emerging sand flats.

Diadumene cincta on a Dogwhelk shell (Photograph by Paul Parsons)Under the sea, Paul Parsons returned from a brief foray with a handful of very small Actinothoe sea anemones, a small sea hare Elysia viridis, and some other very small orange anemones with whitish orange tentacles. After close study I can confirm that these are the often overlooked Diadumene cincta. The mouth is orange in some specimens, but the most useful diagnostic difference from the similar Plumose Anemones is their instant jerky reaction when touched. 
Under Worthing Pier (Page 3)
Sea Anemones (Link)
 

Common Spotted Orchid (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)10 June 2001
Thousands of Common Spotted Orchids are in flower on the chalk bank of westbound A27 Shoreham bypass near Slonk Hill (TQ 225 065).

Report by Ray Hamblett


A Quail was calling to the East of Steep Down, behind Lancing.
The bird can be heard calling from the bridleway which runs from Lancing Clump to the Bostal Road, and passes to the east of Steep Down. There is no chance of seeing the bird here as it is on private land 30 metres below the path, but it was calling at 5:00 for at least 30 minutes around 250 metres to the south of the pylons. This area is also very good for Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer, Linnet etc.
Sussex Ornithological Society Report

Report by Dave Green
5 June 2001
I made a brief visit to the Waterworks Road. There was nothing much there apart from the millions of stinging nettles. But I was surprised to see a Moorhen in the narrow stream, surprised because of the vicinity of the Vixen and her cubs (see below).

On a sunny Mill Hill, above the 45° Sycamore incline from the Waterworks, butterflies fluttered around, rarely remaining still for more than a brief few seconds, because the largest and commonest (12 +) were the restless Wall Browns, and  a single solitary Small Heath Butterfly, the single eye spot clearly distinct on the underside from the orange. There were small orange butterflies fluttered in the grasses and these could be Skippers. A female Common Blue settled.  Lastly, a single a Dingy Skipper was definitely identified, although the the white dotted band on the topside of the front wings were much more distinct than shown in my book.
Butterflies (Bioimages)

Palaemon elegansPalaemon serratusDiadumene cinctaActinothoe

Prawns
This is rather an ordinary observation but the two species of prawns found on Kingston Beach are showing remarkable differences. The smaller Palaemon elegans in the higher pools have dark blue, almost black, markings and egg masses, whilst the larger Paleamon serratus at the low tide mark are remarkably reddish with orange egg masses. This colour guide cannot be relied upon as the larger prawns can be blue and both species almost transparent with hardly any clear lines. Both species of prawns had been eating green algae. 

7 June 2001

An Animal Rights letter was sent to the Shoreham Herald complaining about the Lobsters in the tubs at Adur World Oceans Day.
Reply (Link)

5 June 2001
Many birds in song on the downs approaching Southwick Hill from the north or west, including Corn Buntings (15), Yellowhammers, Skylarks,  and nearer the hill Meadow Pipit and Whitethroat (10).
Sussex Ornithological Society Report

Report by Dave Green
4 June 2001 to 15 June 2001 weekdays

BIODIVERSITY DISPLAY
at Adur Civic Centre
Ham Road, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex.

Monday 4 June 2001 to 15 June 2001 weekdays.
Displays by Friends of Lancing Ring and the British Marine Life Study Society

If you wish to contribute please contact:

Displays by the British Marine Life Study Society and friends of Lancing Ring

The first contact is:
Andy Horton   Glaucus@hotmail.com
Tel:  01273 465433

Further Details (link)

 

3 June 2001
A Fox,vixen with 3 cubs was seen from a distance of 200 metres on the Waterworks Road, on the flood plain below Mill Hill. Footpaths lead down to this private road from the top of the Street in Old Shoreham and from the bridge over the flyover leading to Mill Hill, but these paths are narrow and overgrown.

Walking on wooded land close to the base of Mill Hill near the River Adur, we saw what appeared to be a large black to iridescent dark blue butterfly. It seemed to be larger than a Painted Lady for example.  It flew in a slow fluttering movement and was about 60 cm (2 ft) from the ground as we saw it. I could not follow its path. A local resident confirmed that it had been seen previously.

Experienced lepidopterists have pointed out that it is most likely to be a Beautiful Demoiselle, Calopteryx virgo, a damselfly. The Sussex branch of the Butterfly Conservation Society confirmed that Beautiful Demoiselle damselflies had been confirmed breeding on the bird reserve near the Waterworks on the Adur flood plain, just north of Old Shoreham.
UK Dragonflies Discussion Group

Reports by Ray Hamblett
Lancing Nature & History - June 2001 Newsletter
Adur Flood Plain report of the Demoiselle with photograph
 
2 June 2001
A pair of Mute Swans with six furry cygnets greeted the workers setting up at the stalls for Adur World Oceans Day, but as the neap tide ebbed they had disappeared before the start of the event. 
 
 

Adur World Oceans Day 2001 Report

Adur World Oceans Day Picture Portfolio

World Oceans Day Smart Group

Photograph by Natalie Brahma-Pearl

The day was overcast with brief periods of sun through gaps in the clouds and short periods of torrential rain that sent people diving for cover in the marquee.

29 May 2001
A Speckled Wood Butterfly landed in my Lancing garden (TQ 186 045).

Report by Ray Hamblett


29 May 2001
A pair of Mute Swans with five furry cygnets were in Shoreham Harbour, in the canal section east of the lock gates, together with thousands of Moon Jellyfish

Photograph by Andy Horton

26 May 2001
The Fox that lives around the large beach houses near Old Fort, Shoreham Beach has the mange. Apparently this can be treated with drugged food and a kit is provided by Fox Watch.

Report by David Wood
Previous Report

25 May 2001
Common (or Chalk) Milkwort (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)Mill Hill was covered by vast expanses of yellow on the green grasses, of  Buttercups and Bird's Foot Trefoil, with Daises and patches of blue with the Milkwort and Speedwell, Veronica sp., as well as small seemingly stunted versions of orchids.
Butterflies
A few restless brown butterflies danced in the light breeze. At least some of  the larger ones were Wall Browns, distinctive because of the black-ringed white eye-spot on the opened highly patterned wings (different from a Tortoiseshell). There were smaller brownish butterflies, they were restless and these were Small Heath Butterflies (TQ 212 071). These butterflies are easy to misidentify when the similar but larger Meadow Browns are around. The food plant of the caterpillars of the Small Heath are various grasses.
Meadow Brown Butterflies have not reported from elsewhere this early in 2001. Notes.
The Grizzled Skipper Butterfly was exceptionally attractive when it landed on a buttercup (TQ 212 072). 
In Shoreham town especially near the allotments and Sea Kale on the beach, scores of Small ? White Butterflies fluttered as expected. About 10% of these had a yellowy tinge. 
UK-LEPS Discussion Group (for Butterflies and Moths)
UK-Botany Discussion Group
Adur Valley Butterflies
UK Wildlife Discussion Group
Shoreham Beach
Butterfly Conservation Society
Butterfly Guide

24 May 2001
A large (slightly larger than a goose egg) greenish speckled egg rolled down Ham Road outside the Morning Star Public House. I suspect that this was broken egg belonged to one of two pairs of Herring Gulls reported as trying to breed on the the large flat roof of the nearby Adur Civic Centre.

Report by Andy Horton with the breeding information from Tim
UK Birding Discussion Forum

24 May 2001
The sea off Sussex and probably all along the eastern English Channel is exceptionally clouded with plankton forming long strings in places. This is the species Phaeocystis pouchetti known colloquially as Slobweed and other names.
British Marine Life Study Society News 2001

23 May 2001
A particularly beautiful damselfly caught my eye as it settled on Southwick beach promenade wall next to the timber yard. It had a particularly brilliant metallic emerald green head and thorax and an elegant metallic light blue abdomen. There did not seem to be any distinctive markings on the delicate wings. It may be a female Ischnura elegans known as the Blue-tailed Damselfly. However this identification is not confirmed.
UK Dragonflies Discussion Group
 
 


Freshwater Life 
of North-western Europe
EFORUM PAGE

21 May 2001
The ctenophore (comb-jelly) Sea Gooseberry, Pleuribrachia pileus, is both ubiquitous and superabundant pelagically in the NE Atlantic Ocean, but on the low springs (0.4 metre) at Kingston beach in the early evening was only the second time that I have actually discovered this animal that appears as transparent globules in the prawn net. In a miniature aquarium, the two long tentacles tangle underneath and the swimming combs of this tiny ovoid predator appear to shimmer. At night it is phosphorescent.
Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group

20 May 2001
For my first sighting this year of Orange Tip Butterfly but had to go to Sussex Wildlife Trust HQ at Woods Mill, Small Dole, Sussex.

Report by Ray Hamblett


Peacock Butterfly  (Photograph by Andy Horton)18 May 2001
Taking advantage of the newly re-opened cycleway from Old Shoreham to Beeding, the adjacent towpath was covered in a fine mat of grass. A Kingfisher flew straight as a dart with something large and white in its beak, and a Peacock Butterfly settled on the grasses, notable as my personal first note of this butterfly on these notes. Other butterflies fluttered amongst the nettles. 
In the field opposite the Cement Works, on the western side of the Adur including the towpath, both cows and sheep grazed. 

18 May 2001
The footpaths to Lancing Ring are now open.

West Sussex County Council announce most paths are now open, unless they are inhabited or used by farm livestock, or farm animals are nearby. At first it would seem that  virtually every single path north of Shoreham is adjacent to fields that will contain livestock at least at some time during the year, both on the Downs or in the Adur Valley, and the restrictions may still apply.

The cycle path from Old Shoreham to Bramber has already started to be used. 
 
Most Public Paths

NOW OPEN

Unless a path displays this notice (red with white writing):

You are welcome to use any public path if you:
 

Stay on the path and leave gates exactly as you find them.
Respect red "no entry" notices. 
Donít go near sheep, cows, goats, pigs, or deer. 
Donít go into any field if you canít easily avoid those animals

If you do come across them walk slowly away, retracing your steps if necessary. 
Donít leave waste food or litter anywhere and donít feed ANY animal. 
Keep dogs on short leads at all times and off all land where livestock are present.
Use disinfectant where provided.
Clean your boots after each walk.

17 May 2001
It appears this year there has been an increase in the numbers of Chaffinches, Robins and Song Thrushes at the expense of Starlings, which are still abundant. A Great Tit in St. Mary's churchyard, Shoreham, Owl in a Tree  (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)was seen in the strong breezy (Force 6) afternoon. This bird is reported to be one of the commonest garden birds in Cornwall, but I have never found it to be particularly common In Shoreham. 
Beaufort Scale (sea)
Beaufort Scale (land)

    16 May 2001
    A juvenile Owl was found on the ground close to the nursery in Lancing Manor Park. It was picked up and put back in a nearby tree by the Adur Watch patrol.
    Report by Tim Clarke
    15 May 2001
    DogwhelksIt is astonishing the rapidity the Dogwhelks (a gastropod mollusc) have colonised the relatively new rock sea defences on Southwick beach (TQ 240 046) near the lock gates. Hundreds in mostly white and dirty grey colours, but orange ones and purple ones also, but there were no signs of striped specimens. 
    Most of the Beadlet Anemones were reddish-brown and I saw none of the 'strawberry' variety.

    13 May 2001
    A Pond Skater flew into a garden in The Drive, Shoreham (TQ 219 063). It was walking on the surface of the small pond, hardly, a remarkable event, and it was probably the commonest species Gerris lacustris.
    Hemiptera Checklist
    UK True Bugs Discussion Group

    11 May 2001
    Lancing Manor allotments hosted two Linnets, both birds with the distinctive red throat of the male. Under a tin sheet there were two Grass Snakes and four Slow Worms
    A quick look at St James' churchyard, Lancing, saw Speckled Wood, Peacock and Holly Blue butterflies. At home in Lancing a Comma basked on a warm wall briefly.

    Report by Ray Hamblett
    Butterflies of Lancing
     

    11 May 2001
    Hot and humid briefly, up to 21° C with the first butterflies on the wing in Shoreham, including a Small White Butterfly near the footbridge and a Holly Blue Butterfly fluttered rapidly across the Eastern Avenue railway crossing gates and another one fluttered in the Community Centre grounds in Pond Road, Shoreham. 

    9 May 2001
    A pair of House Martins are nesting in Gordon Road, Shoreham-by-Sea as they did last year.

    Two relatively fine but windy days come to an abrupt end with a thunderstorm with continuous flashes of lightning and some very heavy rain in the late evening up to and past midnight. The claps of thunder were loud enough to prevent any chance of sleep.

    8 May 2001
    I saw my first red butterfly (species unidentified) of the year over the shingle on the sea side of Widewater, but attention was simultaneously distracted by a female Kestrel overhead, from underneath the pale blue with streaks stood out from the blue sky of the first fine and sunny day of the year. The female looks much larger than a male and could be mistaken for a Sparrowhawk. This bird glided and than paused for the familiar hover, before swooping off on the wind.  It is usually the male that is blue underneath. 

    Report by Andy Horton


    There was a meeting between the Environmental Agency, with contractors, Halcrow, and the Friends of Widewater Lagoon over the sea defences planned for the shingle between the lagoon and the sea, and the ecological impact on Widewater. The transcript is on the following site (click on the text):
    FOWL

    7 May 2001
    Foot & Mouth Restrictions still in force in the Adur Valley
    Footpaths in the lower Adur Valley are still all closed. As far as I am aware, not a single path has been reopened In West Sussex, so the downs and Adur Valley are still a no go area for the May Bank Holiday Monday. 

    1 May 2001
    For summer is a comin' in 
    And winter is a gone - o.
    A merry May to you.
    The first day of May was greeted by a cold east wind and continuous heavy rain. 

    27 April 2001
    The first Moon Jellyfish appear in Shoreham harbour. 

    26 April 2001
    Holly Blue Butterfly flutters quickly across a Lancing garden. (TQ 185 046). 

    Report by Ray Hamblett


    23 April 2001
    The elongate small fish known as the Butterfish, because of its slippery nature, or Gunnel (misspelling of gunwhale), Pholis gunnellus, were present on Kingston beach on the low spring tide. 

    22 April 2001
    A count of 340 Bar-tailed Godwits and 81 Gannets plus other birds flew past Southwick beach.
    Sussex Ornithological Society News up to 22 April

    Dogfish (Photograph by Andy Horton)

    15 April 2001
    I received a report via the RSPCA of three young sharks washed up on the beach at either Lancing or Worthing. A size was not mentioned. I assume these are Lesser-spotted Dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula, which are so commonly washed ashore dead in all months of the year that they scarcely warrant a special mention. The specimen above was discovered intact near the Old Fort a couple of months ago, before it had been spotted by the gulls that scavenge along the strandline.

    9 April 2001
    Ray Hamblett reports Common Lizards, Lacerata vivipara, (confirmed ID) and Slow Worms, Anguis fragilis, near the remounts of flint walls and grassland near Widewater. Widewater is a brackish lagoon, but there are pools that are probably near fresh water and dry out in the summer months. These small amphibians and reptiles occasionally become the prey of visiting Kestrels.
    Photographs (Link to web page)

    3 April 2001
    A pleasant sunny day with Meadow Pipits seen from the river towpath by the airport, with a splash of white on the underside of their tail and calling as they leave their perches, including the Sea Purslane at low tide on the Adur estuary. These may be Rock Pipits or Water Pipits.
    Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes Road has begun to be landscaped, but this has halted because of Food & Mouth Disease restrictions. A Robin darted amongst the underbush taking advantage of the dislodged invertebrates.
    By early evening it is was overcast and raining again, which continued with heavy continuous rain and moderate near gales (> Force 7) for the rest of the week. 
    The Frog Tadpoles hatch in a north Shoreham garden. The spawn was first laid in the middle of February

    2 April 2001
    Adur Quality of Life

    'Our Shared Vision' the Adur District Council's Agenda 21 Sustainable Development Document is published.
    The publication was written and designed by Natalie Brahma-Pearl.

    2 April 2001
    Peacock Butterfly (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)In St James-the-Less churchyard, Lancing, (TQ183 056) I spotted Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies maybe two. Also two Comma Butterflies basking close to emerging nettle patch and a Peacock Butterfly landing on a tombstone.
    Birds including a warbler with a sharp trill voice and rounded tail with chestnut colour tail feathers, and Blue, Great & Long-tailed Tits.
    It was the warmest (16° C) sunniest day of the rain, but by late afternoon it had started raining again.

    Report by Ray Hamblett
 
ADUR NATURE NOTES  2000

Mill Hill, north of Shoreham

     
Shoreham-by-Sea
Adur Valley
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