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Adur Valley Wildlife
Nature Notes 
Winter 2001:   January - March
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



    30 March 2001
    Brimstone butterfly is on the wing in North Lancing (urban area) with the first decent sun for weeks. (TQ 182 056)

    Report by Ray Hamblett
    Lancing Nature & History - April Newsletter (by Ray Hamblett)
    UK-LEPS Discussion Group (for Butterflies and Moths)

    Mash Barn at maximum flood level (Photograph by Andy Horton)

    24 March 2001
    A dry day but the ground is absolutely saturated almost everywhere, the standing water on the Mash Barn, Lancing, is greater than it has been before this winter. Squelchy Southwick Green is being pumped clear of flood water.

    21 March 2001
    Not exactly spring, but still a pleasant still day at 10° C and little sign of the mini-blizzard of yesterday. The water was still gushing from the downs and draining from the airport into the surrounding ditches, but there was no photographic sunlight, the crowds were still dark to the north above Mill Hill.

    Work has begun on repairing the flint wall of the Old Fort of Shoreham Beach (constructed c. 1857) by Dave Smith of Flintman of Lewes. The lizards*, well known to Shoreham children, have been displaced from their prime holes in the wall, and have skittered off to new habitats. (TQ 234 044)
    Full Story and Photograph
    Flintman on Flint (Link)

    *These have now been identified as Wall Lizards  Podarcis muralis.

    20 March 2001
    The first day of spring is greeted by a heavy flurry of sleet driven almost horizontally by a strong east wind. The sleet was heavy and continuous for the whole of daylight without remission, but it was still above freezing and in the town of Shoreham it all melted on contact with the ground. As I looked out of my window, the view of the downs was obscured by dreadful conditions. By mid-afternoon, the tops of cars were sprinkled with a layer of snow, so the downs were likely to covered. By late afternoon the snow began to settle in town but only for a short time before it turned to heavy slush, and as conditions eased for a brief interlude, I could see the downs were only lightly sprinkled with snow. By the evening rush hour and dusk it was more rain than sleet. 
    Vernal Equinox Link
    BMLSS Tides Page

    18 March 2001
    Crows are collecting twigs from Beech trees for their nests in the Pines, and Magpies are building their nests in the gardens of Lancing. 

    17 March 2001
    Four Avocets made a visit to the mudflats south of Old Shoreham Toll bridge. This bird has an upturned long beak. These distinctive birds are rare visitors to Shoreham. (I have seen one on the beach at Worthing in March once only: AH).

    16 March 2001
    The first immigrant Wheatears make their landfall near the Widewater Lagoon.

    9 March 2001
    The Oystercatchers can be found on the River Adur mud flats amongst the mussel beds on the low spring tides. 

    28 February 2001
    Food & Mouth Disease Restrictions
    The Food & Mouth Disease regulations have come into force to empower Local Authorities to close footpaths and rights of way. Notices have been put on in the Adur Valley, with good reason. The Police have made sure they are enforced and they have been complied with. 
    MAFF Information Page
    Public Rights of Way and Foot & Mouth Disease
    WSCC Information
    ESCC Information

    25 February 2001

    Adder (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

    An Adder basked in the sun on the chalkpit lane near Lancing Ring as the sprinkling of overnight snow gradually melted away. This is the only poisonous snake found on mainland Britain and is also known as the Common Viper. It hibernates during the winter.

    Report and photograph by Ray Hamblett
    Lancing Nature & History - February Newsletter
    The was a layer of snow on the downs above Sompting.
    Link to a panoramic photograph by Paul Parsons (Adur Forum members only)
    Lancing Ring Photographic Gallery for February

    2* February 2001
    Two Mute Swans landed on the A27 Flyover in the early morning fog and caused a traffic hold-up on this busy road.

    20 February 2001
    Grey Wagtail was spotted on the shingle beach adjacent to Beach Green, Lancing. This bird is seen occasionally every winter near water and there is a very small breeding population in Sussex. 

    Report by Jan Hamblett

    19 February 2001
    A flash of red tail (it could be mistaken for a red breast in flight) indicated the male Black Redstart flitting between the beach huts south of Beach Green, Shoreham Beach. It perched pipit-like on a metre-high pole sticking out of the shingle beach where it looked black silhouetted against the morning sky. A couple of the brownish female birds were also reported on the same day. 

    Report by Andy Horton

    14 February 2001

    For the first time for many years a good haul of the Brown Shimp, Crangon crangon, was reported from the shallow seas off Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex. Gallons of shrimps were collected in a push net at low tide. No Weevers were netted.

    Report by Peter Murphy
    c. 14 February 2001
    The first Common Frog entered a pond in The Drive, Shoreham, (TQ  219 063), and laid a large clump of frog spawn.

    12 February 2001

    Photograph by Steve Savage (click on the flipper for a close-up)FlipperPhotograph by Steve Savage

    Photograph by Steve Savage (Sea Watch Foundation)
    Click on the flipper for a close-up

    Two badly decomposed Dolphins were washed up on Shoreham Beach, Sussex. They were badly decomposed but were probably Common Dolphins, Delphinus delphis. A Porpoise, just over a metre long, was washed at nearby Worthing
    Sussex Dolphins
    Sussex Cetaceans 2001
    Sussex Sea Watch Foundation News 2001

    10 February 2001
    Ray Hamblett reports a Red Admiral Butterfly from his garden in south Lancing.

    8 February 2001
    After several days of rain; the ground is saturated everywhere, especially Lancing Ring. West Way, Lancing was flooded, as expected up to the edge of the gardens, but this is still not as bad as it has been in the past.
    National Floodline, Tel: 0845 988 1188

    Empty egg cases of the Undulate Ray (left) and Dogfish (right) are found washed up on the strandline by Andy Horton and Ray Hamblett.
    Mermaid's Purse (BMLSS Information)

    4 February 2001
    Jackdaws accompany the flocks of Crows in the Buckingham Park area of Shoreham. There are lot of birds around, especially Robins and Blue Tits and little brown birds in the tree tops.

    Diadumene cincta amongst Lightbulb Sea Squirts (Photograph by Paul Parsons)3 February 2001
    The sea anemone Diadumene cincta has been identified and photographed by Paul Parsons off Worthing at a depth of 3 metres and they possibly occur off Shoreham as well. It is a small sea anemone that has probably overlooked before or incorrectly identified. The colony found was very small. It needs to be picked out amongst the background of the Lightbulb Sea Squirts, Clavelina lepadiformis.
    Sea Anemones (Link)

    29 January 2001
    Adur World Oceans Day 2001
    The first meeting to discuss arrangements for this Adur Festival event.
    Please express any interest to:
    Andy Horton (British Marine Life Study Society)
    Natalie Brahma-Pearl (Adur District Council)

    Adur World Oceans Day 2001 web page

    21 January 2001
    A small flock (at least 6 birds) of Long-tailed Tits were seem amongst the lower branches of the large Beech trees in the Drive, Shoreham-by-Sea, during the steady rain that had drizzled down for the whole day. These tiny birds (smaller than the Wren) have not seen in these trees before (my observations in 30 years). 
    The Kestrel that was seen almost every day in Dolphin Road for years has not be seen hovering over the allotments or railway embankment for over 6 months now. 

    19 January 2001
    The first flurries of snow, hardly anything, are seen in the late morning
    Ice formed on the Lancing Ring Dewpond (Ray Hamblett)
    11 January 2001
    Three Red-breasted Mergansers settle on Widewater Lagoon. There have been reports of up to 7. In flight they seem nearly as quick as Mallards.
Taurulus bubalis (Photograph by Andy Horton)7 January 2001
Several hundred Long-spined Bullheads, Taurulus bubalis, were found up washed on the strandline on Lancing beach, West Sussex. This has has not been recorded before and could have been caused by localised pollution.  It was breeding time for these small fish.
Report by Robert Clark, Sussex Sea Fisheries Committee

4 January 2001
The overnight rainfall at Shoreham of 20 mm was the highest in England. Where is other places the dangers of floods are receding, the water table is reaching high levels, but not record levels, locally.  In October 2001 the rainfall was higher.

1 January 2001
An oiled Gannet is reported from Widewater Lagoon. This was the first sign of a much greater oil spill off the Sussex coast with scores of oiled Guillemots and other birds.
All sightings of oiled birds should be sent to the RSPCA, Tel: 0300 1234 999.

Report by Ray Hamblett

1 January 2001
After the dampest autumn on record, New Years Eve brought 8 hours+ of continual rain up until and past midnight.
National Floodline, Tel: 0845 988 1188


Mill Hill, north of Shoreham

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