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Link to Adur Valley Nature Notes 2003

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Latest Nature Notes and Index page 2002
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* If the grid references are not given they could be found on the 
Adur Wildlife database on the Adur eForum

Reports by Andy Horton from personal observation unless otherwise indicated

Link to more detailed wildlife reports for January to March 2003
Link to the spring wildlife reports for 2003
Adur Valley Nature Notes  October - December 2002


31 March 2003
Cuckoo was seen amongst the Cokeham Reed Beds, west Lancing. (TQ 167 043). 

Report by Roy Bratton via Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature
on the Sussex Birds Yahoo Group
NB:  This is an exceptionally early record, possibly a month before the usual first sighting of this immigrant.

30 March 2003
An Osprey flew in quite low off the sea, this was just east of Widewater, it circled round and round gaining height over the sea and beach, then circled over towards the Adur estuary where what I think was a Sparrowhawk sparred briefly with it, the Osprey then came back towards me circling higher and higher, before embarking on one of those flapless, effortless glides on slightly angled wings NNE into the wind, it gave only two flaps before it vanished as a speck in the distance inland, in all I guess I watched it for around 15 minutes - absolutely splendid! 

Report by Colin Holter on Sussex Ornithological Society News
A sunny spring day with a handful of Small White and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies were in flight over Buckingham Park, Shoreham. 

28 March 2003
Short Eared Owl was seen twice in the early evening over New Monks Farm, Lancing. 

Report by Bob Kent (Lancing) on the Sussex Birds Yahoo Group

27 March 2003
I spotted by first white butterfly of the year, probably a Small White Butterfly over the Hamm Road allotments (Eastern Avenue) Shoreham.
Adur Butterflies

24 March 2003
It seemed as though the Little Egret flying over the Old Fort was following a small fishing boat up the River Adur. Was it same one feeding in the stream next to the towpath by Shoreham Airport? Spring seems to have finally arrived. It looked like a couple of Swallows diving rather low over the same unappealing stream. There was a local buff coloured Meadow Pipit with its dipping flight over the Sea Purslane at low tide.
Lesser Celandine (Photograph by Andy Horton)Scores of Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies and Buff-tailed Bumblebees were around the fringes of Shoreham town and on the Coombes road and a single Peacock Butterfly settled on the cycle path by the Cement Works. The yellow flowers by the roadside were Lesser Celandine. There were hundreds of sheep and newly born lambs (with blue tags in their ears) in the fields adjoining the road especially near Church Farm, Coombes. 
Vernal Equinox
Bumble Bee Page

23 March 2003
A Comma Butterfly was in in my south Lancing garden pond (TQ 186 044) nectaring on Viburnum x bodnantense. This is the earliest in the year that I have seen this species of butterfly.

Butterflies of Lancing

20 March 2003
A Brimstone Butterfly was seen near to Lancing Manor Allotments at the foot of McIntyres field.

19 March 2003
A steady stream of orange-tailed bumblebees were observed flying eastwards over the shingle beach to the seaward edge of Widewater Lagoon. Over a period of two hours, a bee must have passed every 30 seconds and I estimated the total numbers passing at about 136. Later in the afternoon a smaller fly-pass occurred. 

Report by Bob Kent (Lancing) via the Lancing Nature Smart Group
NB: The species was probably the Red-tailed (Jewel) Bumblebee, Bombus lapidarius.
Shoreham Beach page

Frog tadpoles (pic) hatch out in my south Lancing garden pond (TQ 186 044) and a pair of Magpies, from the Hawthorn tree, pinched the turf from the pond's edge.

Clingfish (Photograph by Andy Horton)

Clingfish on bryozoans
 The clingfish is about 10 mm long

Acanthochitona crinitus (Photograph by Andy Horton)The low equinoctial spring tide receded as far as I have known it uncovering all the rocks on Lancing Beach. It was too dark to explore the exposed shore properly, but juvenile Small-headed Clingfishes (probable ident.) were present under rocks, with hundreds of crabs and a chiton, a full sized Acanthochitona crinita. The chiton is 29 mm long and 20 mm at its widest part. The sea anemone Sagartia troglodytes was common and the Snakelocks Anemone frequently seen.
Species List
BMLSS Chiton page
BMLSS Molluscs

There were two pairs of Shelducks at the eastern end of Widewater Lagoon.
Buff-tailed Bumble Bee (Photograph by Andy Horton)The bumblebee on the railway path near the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham, was striped orange and black. This was a queen (the orange pollen basket indicates) of the Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, which is the commonest species locally. The white (not buff) tail is usually very clear with this species: its most distinguishing feature. (The White-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus locurum is similar but smaller with a lemony coloured band.)

The chirrupy calls of the Robin Redbreast were noticeable north of the Toll Bridge, and a particularly colourful Chaffinch singing from a tree on the short path from Botolphs to the River Adur (just to the north of the South Downs Way bridge). To the north of the path it appears to be recently (2001?) neglected or set-aside land, notably better in wildlife than the adjacent arable lands. Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies were seen near shelter in the valley, but only about six of these butterflies were flying strongly and not settling. 
A Little Egret was the only bird in the first flood plain field north of the Toll Bridge (field artificially seeded for cattle). This field tends to be damp with deep drainage streams around the edge. 
Adur Levels

17 March 2003
For the first time ever I discovered six 15 cm long Sand SmeltAtherina presbyter, in my shrimp push-net off Southwick beach, together with three pints of Brown Shrimps and some orange crabs (species not identified), plus a couple of small Weevers. The Sand Smelt is a silvery fish found in the River Adur estuary in summer.

Report by Peter Talbot-Elsden
Shorewatch Project

My first butterfly of the year was a Small Tortoiseshell flying strongly over Gordon Road, Shoreham town centre, on a sunny hazy day. Of the birds calling during the day, the Collared Doves, Herring Gulls and Song Thrush were the loudest and most strident, joined by the melody of the Blue Tit on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, south of the by-pass. 

Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies (Photographs by Andy Horton)
It was is in this area that a group of three Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies, were seen and photographed and another three on Mill Hill near the reservoir. The shade air temperature reached 13° C.

Jewel Bumble Bee (Photograph by Andy Horton)A Red-tailed (Jewel) Bumblebee, Bombus lapidarius, crawled out of the long grass just south of the reservoir on Mill Hill. There was a small orange mite on its abdomen. This species of bumblebee is the second commonest locally throughout the year.
I am tempted to say that the mite is a deutonymph of Parasitellus.
Bumble Bees
Social Bees
Parasites on Bumblebees
Classification of Acari
Six Common Species of Bumblebees (UK)
World List of Bumblebees (NHM)
Predators and symbionts of Bumblebees

16 March 2003
As the sun set and full moon illuminated the early evening, there was an astonishing amount of bird song in the scrubs from Withy Patch with birds communicating over four lanes of the A27, and various bird calls were heard continuously all the way down the path south of Toll Bridge in the bushes by the old railway track, and again in the scrub and small trees by the railway main line at the southern end of Raven's Road, Shoreham. It appeared that most of the singing came from Blackbirds and other thrushes
On beach near the Brooklands outfall pipe, three Turnstones could be approached quite closely before they flew off calling. Twenty Sanderlings pattered over the sand surface and there was a few Ringed Plover as well. Alas the low tide of 1.06 metres did not uncover as many rocks as known before, and the intertidal fauna was exiguous, limited to a few common species including the Hairy Crab and small sea anemones Sagartia troglodytes, Beadlet Anemone and a single Snakelocks Anemone. There were numerous Dogwhelks on the mussel beds on the Brooklands pipe. 
BMLSS Rockpooling Page

A flock of about a dozen Jackdaws perched on the Beech trees in The Drive (near Buckingham Park), Shoreham-by-Sea, (TQ  219 063).

15 March 2003
One Red Admiral Butterfly, very large and perfect, was hovering in the sun and five Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies were seen in my Lancing garden.

Report by Gary Lane via the UK-Leps EForum
Adur Butterflies

14 March 2003
The first Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly of the year visited my south Lancing garden in the sunshine with a gentle north-east breeze. (TQ 186 044).

British Butterflies Flight Times

On the mud flats south of Old Shoreham Toll Bridge the low spring tide had receded a low way so in the fading light it was difficult to identify some of the wading birds through my low powered (10 x 25) binoculars. There were fifteen medium-sized wading birds in the shallows on the water's edge. At least three were Redshanks as the red colour of their legs discerned as they trotted quickly over the mud itself, but the other waders appeared to be a different species, with black legs and bill and a dark head (possibly Godwits?). They were very active wading in water up to their knees, probing very deeply into the mud. They were probably all Redshanks, but it is unusual to see them on Adur in small flocks - they are usual single, with perhaps a couple more in close proximity. Much easier to recognise, were a pair of Shelducks, just a solitary Dunlin, three Mute Swans, a couple of feeding Little Egrets and a couple of Great Black-backed Gulls
A flock of about a dozen Jackdaws foraged around the green mown grass of the Holmbush roundabout, north-east Shoreham. 

8 March 2003
There were five ducks up-ending themselves to feed in Widewater Lagoon (eastern end). Some 25% smaller than Mallards, I have penned these in as Teals. One of them was chased by an aggressive Black-headed Gull.

6 March 2003
After a month of very little rainfall, I would guess that the salinity would rise slightly in Widewater Lagoon, which was heavily in flood which is usually associated with heavy rainfall. The SG was measured and the salinity calculated at 27. However, after deducting the hydrometer correction figure we arrive a salinity of 22 (ppt). This reading represents the largest monthly rise in salinity for a whole year. 

5 March 2003
A pair of Mandarin Ducks were seen on Brooklands Boating Lake this evening. This is a "naturalised" alien species from the Far East (China and Japan) has escaped from captivity and breeds in south-east England. 
At 3:30 pm a single Swallow flew up the Adur then low across the Shoreham Airport heading north west. A real early bird?

Reports by Bob Kent (Lancing) on the Sussex Birds Yahoo Group

4 March 2003
A Goldcrest was in in my south Lancing garden in the rain, again. (TQ 186 044). This was a bright spark on a murky overcast grey day.

2 March 2003
An escaped Eagle with jesses was seen over Cokeham Reed Beds, Sompting. It was mobbed by crows and seen heading for the downs. This bird was not a Harris Hawk identified from Cissbury later in the month. 

Report by Roy Bratton via Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature
on the Adur Valley EForum
Lost & Found "Birds of Prey"

A Common Shrew, Sorex araneus, was discovered under the forcing cover of the
rhubarb plants on our Lancing Manor allotment.
Shrew Page

A Great Tit was calling loudly and persistently from a tree in the south-western corner of Buckingham Park, Shoreham. The firstFrog spawn is laid amongst the few sticks of weeds in the back garden of 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), Shoreham-by-Sea, (TQ  219 063) some 16 days later than the spawn was laid in Lancing, and 26 days after the first frogs were seen in the pond. 

1 March 2003
Five Purple Sandpipers as well as about five Turnstones were on the central wooden pier near the Old Fort, Shoreham Beach. (TQ 234 045)

Small Butterfish could be found under the rocks in the piddock chalk area at mid-tide level on Kingston beach.
Report by Steve Savage

26 February 2003
In the fading light a couple of Shelducks waddled in the mud just south of the Toll Bridge.

Black Brant (Photograph by Andy Horton)

It was a surprise to see a black Brent Goose wading around the edges and swimming on the surface of Widewater Lagoon.

Bracket Fungi, Trametes versicolor, in Ray Hamblett's South Lancing front garden (Photograph by Andy Horton)25 February 2003
A Dunnock (Hedge Sparrow) was spotted foraging on fallen sunflower seeds  underneath the bird table in my south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044).

21 February 2003
On a half spring tide near the Toll Bridge there was one actively feeding Bar-tailed Godwit, on the edge and shallow water, dipping its long beak repeatedly in the mud, with a small flock of Dunlins and a handful of stationary Grey Plovers.

19 February 2003
Withy Patch stroud (TQ 193 057)
Nothing until I started pushing, then two Blue Tits, two Great Tits, four Long-tailed Tits, a Goldcrest and a couple of Robins hopped out. Also a distant Great Spotted Woodpecker calling but unfortunately no Willow Tit, and no Barn Owl which I had seen there before. 

Previous Report from Withy Patch

Pochards (Photograph by Andy Horton)18 February 2003
At least 30 Pochards swam on Brooklands Boating lake in the middle of the afternoon. 

17 February 2003
Two Shelducks with bright red beaks followed by a Ruddy Shelduck ventured close in to the shore on a high spring tide just south of the Old Shoreham Toll Bridge and swam around poking their heads under water, presumably to tug at the vegetation to eat. 
Adur Estuary

In the drainage ditches surrounding the sheep fields on the Adur levels by the Waterworks (north of Old Shoreham) the water was covered by ice at a thickness of 20 mm at midday. It was not clear if the frogs had laid their spawn yet. The deeper slow running stream was clear of ice.
At 2:30 pm the dew point was minus 7.4°C, the humidity down to 40% but the air  temperature which had been above freezing for most of the day had risen to 5.4°C in a light breeze (Force 2) that chilled at 3.2°C.

Beaufort Scale

12 February 2003
On a misty drizzly day the Ruddy Shelduck sheltered in the lee of the island on Brookland's Boating Lake, with over fifty Coots, a couple of Moorhensand a small flock of about a dozen Pochards which could be seen reasonably close up (with 10 x 25 binoculars) with their attractive maroon head (male only)
In the stroud by the weighbridge just to the west of Withy Patch, Lancing, (TQ 193 057) I heard the call of the Willow Tit, the call repeated four times in one burst, distinctly, despite the hum of the traffic as dusk approached, before all the other hidden birds burst into song.
Call of the Willow Tit (second call heard)
Great Tit call (can sound a bit like that of the Willow Tit)
Previous Report
Just north of the Old Shoreham Toll Bridge, every 30 metres or so there was a Chaffinch, in the hedgerow next to the horse field, a frequently seen bird, but not as readily noticeable when there is greenery on the bushes.

After the mist cleared there were a pair of Peregrine Falcons circling over the Shoreham Harbour Power Station chimney, one falcon going into the large nest box on the southern side and the other bird right on top of the chimney.

Report by Peter Talbot-Elsden
Breeding Report

There was a ripple of activity on the pond in my back garden, in south Lancing (TQ 186 044) as I checked on it this morning. A pair of mating Frogs are resting on the surface among the weed near the edge of pond. They are tending a freshly produced clump of spawn.
The pond and spawn froze over at night.

10 February 2003
As the tide rolled in covering up the sand on the beach immediately south of Widewater Lagoon a small flock of Sanderlings flew around and settled on the fine shingle nearer the sea's edge and a Turnstone wandered over the rock sea defences, its red legs and white under tail feathers particularly clear. Over the grass adjacent to the lagoon itself, a large brown Kestrel hovered. 

Report by June Brown

9 February 2003

QX3 image by Ray Hamblett

A Mayfly larva from my garden pond at x 60 magnification
Discovered by Katherine Hamblett
Image by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature)

7 February 2003
A couple of Purple Sandpipers were on the Inner East Pier (by the Old Fort) of Shoreham Harbour, a couple of hours before high water.

6 February 2003
A pair of Long-tailed Tits descended from the eight metre Hawthorn Tree at the bottom of my south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044) to feed on peanuts at the feeder.

2 February 2003
A Great Tit with a posse of Blue Tits was another first for the back garden of 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), Shoreham-by-Sea, (TQ  219 063). Three Common Frogs were in the pond, but no spawn had been laid. 
A flock of 20+ Jackdaws rose from the tall Beech trees in the same road. 

30 January 2003
In the town there was a flurry of snow. On the downs there was a light covering which disappeared by the following day. 

Dewpond at Lancing Clump in the snow (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

The Dewpond at Lancing Clump
Photograph by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature)

29 January 2003
A Bullfinch visited my Shermanbury garden this morning.

Upper Adur East (Shermanbury area) Nature Pages

27 January 2003
The sun came out today and there was a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly in my Shermanbury garden.

Shermanbury Footpaths

Midday: It was a low neap tide at 1.6 metres on the Adur between the Toll Bridge and the Railway Viaduct with over a thousand Black-headed Gulls, nearly a thousand Lapwings, over a hundred Dunlins, an uncounted number of Ringed Plovers, a handful of Great Black-backed Gulls, at least three Cormorants fanning their wings on the mud banks, the inevitable Mute Swans, an occasional feeding Redshank, and just a solitary actively feeding Bar-tailed Godwit, in the shallow water, dipping its long beak repeatedly in the mud, the raised slightly upcurved beak slightly agape. This bird selection is usual perhaps even slightly disappointing for the first two months of the year. Crows were amongst the mud and rocks and even House Sparrows were feeding amongst the Sea Purslane
3:30 pm: The river still looked very low although the tide measurement at the harbour entrance was now 3 metres. A Grey Heron had arrived and stood like a stature at the end of the sand spit with 30 newly arrived Great Black-backed Gulls, plus some Herring Gulls. The Godwit and most of the Lapwings had departed, but amongst the hundred plus Dunlins, exactly a dozen Grey Plovers stood out looking like dumpy oversized Dunlins with short beaks and black legs.

26 January 2003
A lovely male Red Breasted Merganser was on the small island at the eastern end of the Widewater Lagoon from 2.45 pm until 3.15 pm when I left.

Report by Bob Kent (Lancing) via the Lancing Nature Smart Group

A Bar-tailed Godwit was spotted just south of the Old Shoreham Toll Bridge, the first time I have seen this wader here. This confirmed my earlier report. Also a very lonely-looking Brent Goose was around!

24 January 2003
Birds have been discovered washed up oiled but still alive on the beaches between Southwick and Worthing, mostly Guillemots, but at least one Razorbill was discovered in a distressed condition. The source of the oil is not known, but these oiled birds are reported every year and some are treated by the Worthing & District Animal Rescue Service (WADARS).

Report from local beach walkers and in the Shoreham Herald

23 January 2003
Bar-tailed Godwits in the Channel Islands (Photograph by Nicolas Jouault)At high tide, there was just a small patch of mud covered in greenery (Glasswort and algae) south of the Toll Bridge (TQ 207 058), occupied by about 150 Lapwings and one other mottled grey and white wader with a long almost straight beak and a glimpse of black tail feathers. The Lapwings were disturbed but this bird remained unperturbed. Occasionally, it tucked its beak into his chest so the beak was invisible. I watched it for over ten minutes, long enough for a plump Ringed Plover to arrive. Still the wader remained stationary with just a few struts in shallow water on firm mud on the tideline, but it did not feed. It was definitely a Godwit, and I think (90% sure) it was a Bar-tailed Godwit, Limosa lapponica, and this was the first time I have noticed (through binoculars) this easily overlooked wading bird on the estuary. Black-tailed Godwits have also been recorded on the Adur. 

The Peregrine Falcon appeared on the north side of the Shoreham Harbour Power Station chimney (TQ 246 048) at breakfast time (8:00 am) this morning. 
Nest Box Link
Earlier (2002) Reports

Report by Peter Talbot-Elsden

21 January 2003
Photograph by Andy HortonWith due southerly winds up the Gale Force 7 at times pushing a high spring tide (6.2 metres) against the shingle beach, there was very little foreshore by Brooklands Boating Lake and the Ringed Plovers (at least four, probably more) occupied the crest of the shingle bank and even ventured on to the coastal path.
The strandline showed nothing exceptional. A dozen egg purses of the Thornback Ray (Mermaid's Purses) were washed up in the space of 25 metres on the Old Fort beach. By Ferry Road beach, Shoreham, over a dozen Cuttlefish bones lay scattered about with the flotsam in the space of 25 metres. These are Sepia officinalis as only this one, the commonest of the large cuttlefish, are found in Sussex seas. 
BMLSS Cuttlefish and Cuttlebones
Coastal Fringe (Shoreham Beach)

20 January 2003
At first I thought it was two Wrens in my back garden, in south Lancing (TQ 186 044): the bird was similar in size to a wren but moved in a more restless erratic
manner, the yellow flash on the head showed it as a Goldcrest.

19 January 2003
In the tiny front garden of 123 Old Shoreham Road, Shoreham (west side, midway between the Swiss Cottage going north to the Amsterdam, with back gardens that back on to the old railway track waste land adjacent to the River Adur) a large healthy looking Red Fox almost filled the garden with its presence at 3:00 pm on a bright cloudless afternoon. It remained in-situ long enough for me to get the camera out of its bag, but bounded off over the low walls separating the gardens and disappeared from view before I could focus and press the shutter.

18 January 2003
Looking for Willow Tits near the Withy Patch (TQ 192 057), Lancing, alas, there was only a couple of Blue Tits
Willow Tits at Withy Patch 2002

16 January 2003
A pair of Shelducks were on the Adur between the Railway Viaduct and the Toll Bridge

A small wren-sized bird flew just like a wren and it looked a bit like a miniature chaffinch but with a much more colourful head. It was in the palms and greenery at the sea end of a large garden at the eastern end (TQ 186 037) of Lancing Beach Green. Alas, the sighting was very brief, but this was my first ever observation of a Goldcrest, the smallest British bird. The Goldcrest is reported as being common enough in Sussex. (The bird looked to me more like a Firecrest, but this latter bird is 25 times less likely than the former.) This bird was accompanied by an ordinary Wren.

14 January 2003
As the low tide rolled in over the sandy flats immediately to the west of the Brooklands outfall pipe, there was commotion in the shallow sea as at least one hundred Cormorants and a similar number of mixed gulls all collected in a very small patch of very shallow (less than a metre deep) rolling sea. 30+ Sanderlings pattered across the exposed mud, this small bird regularly probing for food. The Cormorant count for this area is usually about 30.

12 January 2003
Waxwing is spotted in St Mary's churchyard, Shoreham, SW of railway station at 4.10 pm (TQ 216 051). It was perched in one of the trees (not feeding) before making two short flights to the western edge of the churchyard and then lost to my view. 
This colourful bird is a truly extraordinary and newsworthy sight. Small irruptions rarely occur from their northern European wintering grounds. This bird is a very rare sight in Sussex. It has been recorded on a handful of occasions in Shoreham in the last 50 years, but the last time was as long ago as 1965

Report by Chris Corrigan via Sussex Ornithological Society News
Waxwing Web Page
SOS Waxwing Records
Waxwing Photographs (not this bird)

A fairly heavy hoar frost greeted us this morning. "Hoar frost occurs when water vapour touches a very cold surface and freezes on it instantly. This can happen to the leaves and branches of plants, and will cover them with ice crystals that look like spiky fingers."
Clouds R US Frost Page

An Oystercatcher perched on a wooden groyne on Kingston beach. It was at neap low tide so the mussel beds and sandy and weed shore below the shingle would not be uncovered today.

Ewhurst Manor Fish Pond on 12 January 2003 (Photograph by Allen Pollard)

The fish pond at Ewhurst Manor, near Shermanbury was completely frozen over except for one small area. 

Upper Adur East (Shermanbury area) Nature Pages

11 January 2003
dog Fox was seen crossing the Mile Oak Road close to the 6th Form College,  High Street, Portslade Village, at 12.30 pm. As I drove slowly toward the narrow part of the road before the blind corner close to the school. I had no other cars behind me and out of the corner of my eye I saw an animal walk onto the road. I slowed and stopped. To my astonishment I watched a fully grown Red Fox leisurely cross the road in front of me, it climbed a small bank briefly cocking a leg to scent mark the gap in the hedge of the garden it entered. All this in bright sunshine!

9 January 2003
Black-headed Gulls were standing on the thin layer of ice that covered nearly the whole expanse of Widewater Lagoon, the Mute Swans were restricted to a small area of clear water near the houses. The Little Egret was predictably missing as it would have had few opportunities to feed in the frozen margins.
The small pipits on the shingle above high tide mark looked like Meadow Pipits. The air temperature only crept above freezing at midday, where 30 Mallards on the mud flats near the Footbridge, buried their heads into their feathers. 
On the small area of exposed mudflats (TQ 210 053) just north of the Railway Viaduct spanning the Adur at Shoreham, a couple of Oystercatchers were probing continually in the soft mud for food. The usual Lapwings were present, and I heard the squawky alarm call of the Redshank twice within 30 metres of riverbank, but it was the hundreds of Dunlins all over the mud, not just at the water's edge, that were most noticeable. They were more numerous near the Toll Bridge.

8 January 2003
A thin layer of ice formed over the shallow fringes of Widewater Lagoon.

Widewater Page (by Ray Hamblett

Engineers have begun the first stage of the seawater pipe installation at Widewater Lagoon.
New Pipeline Installation Notes

5 January 2003
A male Blackcap is visiting my garden in Shadwell's Road, Lancing.

The garden ponds in Shoreham town and gardens are frozen over with a glass-like (3 mm to 6 mm) layer of ice for the whole of the day. The temperature remained under 3 ºC for all hours of daylight.
Shoreham Beach Weatherflash (Instant Readings) Page
Shoreham Beach Weather: Detailed Statistics and Daily Page

4 January 2003
Widewater Lagoon is in flood after the recent rain and the salinity fell to 15. The Little Egret foraged in the shallows as usual. This bird is not ringed. 
Widewater Salinity Page

The morning layer of snow is so thin it could be mistaken for frost. The precipitation of Shoreham beach up to 9:00 am was a mere 1.022 mm, with the temperature at its lowest point at 1.7ºC at 7:50 am and a dew point falling to -0.9ºC at 6:16 am. Wind chill was -5.3ºC was 7:48 am  and although it is getting warmer, the wind chill in the Light Breeze (Force 2) was still below freezing in mid-morning. There was no ice on garden ponds. 

3 January 2003
Amongst the scant remaining vegetation at a high spring tide, at least three pipits perched and flew around just above the water surface south-west of the Footbridge over the Adur (TQ 216 047). These were not the plump Meadow Pipits of the local fields but a different bird altogether, thin and straggly with a much paler speckled breasts with plenty of white, and a more marked face with a bit of a dark top. The white, or was it grey, tail feathers were not so bright either. So this bird was either a Rock Pipit (Scandinavian Race) or a Water Pipit, Anthus spinoletta. They were not easily perturbed, but they all flew off over the estuary before I could get my camera out. It seems from research and consultation that the identity is most likely to be a Water Pipit, which is not what I thought of at first. (The full subspecies name of the Rock Pipit [Scandinavian Race] is Anthus petrosus littoralis.) These pipits can be a bit tricky to identify.
Last Meadow Pipit Report
Pipit on Lancing Beach
Trouble with Pipits Identification
Adur Estuary Page
Anthus petrosus littoralis (Sussex records)
Rock Pipits Observation Page (BMLSS)
Rock Pipits (Birdguides)
Water Pipits

Floods at Mock Bridge, River Adur
Photograph by Allen Pollard
My first butterfly of the year was almost certainly a Small Tortoiseshell that fluttered out of the Hawthorn and Dogwood scrub on the south east corner of the dewpond field on Lancing Clump
UK Butterfly Calendar
A single Great Tit was spotted before it darted into an Ivy laden Hawthorn. Full Report
Friends of Lancing Ring

Song Thrush (Photograph by Jan Hamblett)2 January 2003
On a day noted for its dampness with mud and sodden ground, there was a remarkable scarcity of birds and other wildlife in all the normal haunts. From a small bush outside the entrance to Ricardo's (TQ 125 059) on the airport side of the Toll Bridge at Old Shoreham, a Song Thrush performed its repertoire of songs, filling the dusk air with melody. The songs were heard again in  various parts of Shoreham town. Almost everywhere there were large gardens, or parks on any bushes to sing from the Song Thrush seemed to be singing. The wet winters of late seemed to have benefited this bird that feeds mainly on worms, although in hard winters it is capable of tackling snails when the frozen ground makes worms difficult to come by. 

1 January 2003
The Long tailed Tits, Aegithalos caudatus, are feeding on peanuts provided in my Shermanbury garden.

Upper Adur East (Shermanbury area) Nature Pages


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Mill Hill, north of Shoreham

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