Black-headed Gull in flight (Photograph by Ian Thirlwell)
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Latest Nature Notes and Index page 2002
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Valley and Flood Plain from of the River Adur


River Adur tidal reaches 


Sussex downland on both sides of the River Adur,
including Mill Hill Nature Reserve


Extensive urban area including the coastal towns of Shoreham, Southwick and Lancing, and the inland town of Steyning and countryside villages


Rich marine, seashore, shingle beach and lagoon habitats

Fungi of Lancing
Fungi of Shoreham
Adur Fruiting Bodies Database
Lancing Fungi Gallery (by Ray Hamblett)
Fungi of the British Isles (Yahoo Group)
Lancing Clump Supplementary
Autumn 2004 
Fungi of Mill Hill
Fungi Images on the Web (Index)
Spring Dyke next to the Miller's
 Stream (Adur Levels)
Waterworks Road
Mill Hill (Summer 2004)
Lower (Horseshoe Vetch) Slopes of Mill Hill
Lancing Ring and Meadows
Slonk Hill and 
Road Embankment
Widewater Lagoon 2004
Adur Insect Links:

Solitary Bees
Adur Bees, Wasps & Sawflies



April 2005

* 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
Clicking on the new thumbnail-style images will reveal a larger photograph

Afternoon Mist at Shoreham Grammer School, Kingston Buci
Visibility was about 200 metres
Taken on 28 March 2005 


29 April 2005
The Pancalia micro-moths were very frequently seen on the lower slopes of Mill HillOf the nine butterfly species seen during the humid and overcast day, the greatest surprise was a Small Copper Butterfly on the Dovecote Bank, the first one recorded on these Nature Notes pages for April. By comparison the first Dingy Skipper of the year on the lower slopes of Mill Hill was expected, even overdue. 
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List 2005

St. Mark's Flies (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)One of the hoverflies on the Waterworks Road had an upturned snout indicating the genus Rhingia. It was accompanied by four Brimstone Butterflies.

The black flies (with dangly bits) commonly seen at this time of the year are St. Mark's Flies, Bibio marci.

Just a dozen Brown Shrimps, a very poor total as the rollers pounded Southwick Beach on a low neap tide. A large Flounder and a Weever fish were also caught in the one and a half metre push-net.

Shrimping Report by Peter Talbot Elsden
Marine Life of Sussex

27 April 2005
On the the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the Horseshoe Vetch and the blue Common Milkwort was just beginning to flower. Immediately, I descended from the steps on to the green herbland, a flutter of orange was two days later confirmed as the first Small Heath Butterfly of the year. The Horseshoe Vetch and Dog Violets attracted the attention of the Grizzled Skippers, with eight species of butterfly seen during the day.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
National Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Butterfly List 2005

26 April 2005
Common Starfish, Asteria rubensOn the Kingston Buci Beach mussel beds, a Common Starfish, Asterias rubens, was a surprise and infrequent occurrence between the tides. It was a relatively poor visit for marine life with just four species of rockpool fish and a few prawns. There was a large Mussel, Mytlius edulis, measured at 83 mm, which is exceptionally large for this beach, where mussels rarely exceed 70 mm.
Full Report
British Marine Life Study Society

25 April 2005
At least one hundred aerobatic Swallows swooped low over Brooklands Boating Lake, with their navy blue feathers and forked tails, making an attractive display. 
There were a pair of Jays near the Sussex Pad, in the trees in the first field to the north on the approach road to Lancing College. 

On the sea by Widewater, there were two Great Crested Grebes and two Sandwich Terns were flying over the sea and diving. Immigrant Wheatears were on the grass by the brackish water lagoon.

Report by Marion Page on Sussex Ornithological Society News

24 April 2005
An Orange Ladybird, Halyzia sedecimguttata  was spotted on a Bramble leaf in Mash Barn Lane, Lancing.

Full Report
Adur Ladybirds
Lancing Beetle Gallery (by Ray Hamblett)

"Paddling" for worms on the Middle Road and Shoreham Grammar School Playing Fields (Kingston Buci), the two dozen plus gulls would be identified as Herring Gulls, if it wasn't for their yellow legs. (Herring Gulls have pink legs.) However, the backs (primary feathers) of these gulls were a light grey, much lighter than the normal Lesser Black-backed Gulls which have the yellow legs. Some of the birds were juveniles. The light was fading and it was raining lightly. 
Sussex Ornithological Society Gulls Page
Notes on separation between Yellow-legged Gulls and other gulls

21 April 2005
At least nine, possibly ten, species of butterfly were recorded in Shoreham and the nearby downs during the day; this is the most species in a single day this year, but no 'firsts of the year' were positively identified. There were several possible  early Large White Butterfles
Butterfly List for the Day
Adur Butterfly Flight Times

20 April 2005
Male and female Large Red Damselflies, Pyrrhosoma nymphula, were seen in Mash Barn Lane leading to New Monks Farm, Lancing. These were the first Odonata damselflies & dragonflies) of the year in the Adur area. 

Large Red Damselfly (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

Adur Damsels & Dragonflies
Lancing Damselflies (by Ray Hamblett)
Adur Dragonfly Flight Months
Lancing Insect Gallery (by Ray Hamblett)

A Brimstone Butterfly obliged by posing on a Bramble leaf.
Lancing Butterflies and Moths
Adur Butterfly List 2005

There were four Tufted Ducks and a Pochard on Brooklands Boating Lake, east Worthing on the border with Lancing. 

19 April 2005
A small fluttering of brown was my first record of the small day-flying moth Pyrausta nigrata of the year on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Unless the moth settles it is easy to confuse this species with the Grizzled Skipper with at least one confirmed. These two species have identical browns and cream colours but different patterns and occur at the same time on the downs. The Grizzled Skipper is larger. Altogether a total of at least six of either moths or skippers were disturbed. 
Adur Butterfly and Larger Moth List 2005

18 April 2005
The strange and unusual looking Morel Mushroom, Morchella esculenta, was seen on the side of the Pixie Path to Mill Hill. It looked dried out but I expect they always look like this. 
Fungi of Shoreham

A strange aquatic critter lives in a garden pond near Mill Hill. It is about 20 mm long and scampers quickly back to the pond if removed from the water. It is green underneath. Do you know what it is? 

NB: It looks like a dragonfly nymph. My first choice is the Common Darter nymph but it is possibly Libellula depressa, the Broad-bodied Chaser nymph ? (AH
Photograph by Brian Drury Photograph by Brian Drury

Freshwater Life "Smart Group"
Adur Dragonflies

17 April 2005
A bird alighted half way up (at a height of about 3 metres) a narrow tree trunk at Cuckoo's Corner. I had a glimpse of it for a second before it ran around the trunk to a blind spot from my viewpoint. I noticed that its upper wing feathers were a slate grey-blue colour. My original thought was a Treecreeper, a bird I not seen on the Coombes Road for a decade or more. However, the colour hue really indicates a Nuthatch, a bird of which I am even less familiar with, not having seen one in the Shoreham area before. In the late afternoon, it was not as colourful as shown in the books.

Can you spot the Roe Deer ?

On the Ricardo Test Bed Field (unofficial private nature reserve opposite, east of, the Sussex Pad and next to the Coombes Road, southern end) two adult Roe Deer were feeding in the open. 

The Spring (Hairy-footed) Flower Bee* with a long tongue and a loud buzzing sound in a Shoreham garden, was misidentified as a bee-fly at first. It was not a fly at all, but a solitary bee called Anthophora plumipes. It is a female (they are black) and the males are brown.
The straightforward conclusion is the intruder with which it appeared to be fighting was the male of the same species and they were mating. 

Full Report with Photographs
Shoreham Town & Gardens
Web Site with Photographs

16 April 2005
A female Sparrowhawk actively hunting at the southern end of the Waterworks Road in the back gardens of the houses, before the cliff descends vertically, was a handsome sight. I noticed the fanning of the tail feathers as it stalled before landing or striking (out of view). ID notes (Link)
On the southern side of Miller's Stream (opposite to Spring Dyke) a large adult Roe Deer, without antlers, surprised me with a leap from cover of the long reeds to disappear under a Hawthorn. 
Adur Levels 2005

15 April 2005
Of the seven species of butterfly seen during the day, three species were first* Adur records this year: a pair of Speckled Woods on the footpath at the top of The Drive, Shoreham, a Green-veined White on the southern part of Mill Hill and a male Orange-tip on the A27 road embankment a the top (north) of the Dovecote Estate, Shoreham. The Orange-tip flew over the road towards Mill Hill before I could put new batteries into my camera. (* An Orange-tip was previously seen by Allen Pollard at Shermanbury four days earlier.)
Green-veined White Butterfly Speckled Wood Butterfly

The other species were Holly Blue (Pixie Path near Mill Hill), Grizzled Skipper (lower slopes of Mill Hill), Peacock (one on Mill Hill, just below the ridge, and one the A27 road embankment a the top (north) of the Dovecote Estate) and one Small Tortoiseshell (on the A27 road embankment a the top of the Dovecote Estate).
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Butterfly List 2005

On an overcast day there were hundreds of other flying insects, including scores of bumblebees, a few hoverflies, flies and mining bees
On Mill Hill and its approaches, Sweet Violets were fading and Dog Violets were appearing. 
Adur Violets

12 & 14 April 2005
A Woodpecker was heard drumming near Buckingham House, to the west of Buckingham Park, Shoreham. The bird was not seen.

Report by Peter Talbot-Elsden and an overheard conversation
Shoreham Town & Gardens

12 April 2005
A superbly colourful Common Redstart landed on the rotary clothes line in the back garden of 14 Corbyn Crescent (TQ 224 055), Shoreham town, where there is a bird table and flocks of House Sparrows. Redstarts are summer immigrants. This is my first record of this bird in the town. 

Five Little Egrets fished in the flooded Widewater Lagoon (1.59 metres). One Little Egret caught and swallowed  what, because of the flash of silver, looked like a small fish. Two Turnstones (in winter livery) patrolled the shallows. The salinity near the bridge was 33.1.

Widewater Lagoon Management Meeting at Lancing Parish Hall
The new draft Management Plan is in the process of being drawn up. I cannot see any problems as nature has got the upper hand over any changes that the operation of the pipeline can make.
My Brief Comments (Link)

11 April 2005
I spotted my first Orange-tip Butterfly of 2005 in my Shermanbury garden this afternoon.

10 April 2005
The Magpies that have nested in the Hawthorn at the bottom of my south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044), appear to have been ousted by a pair of Crows. The larger Crows have taken possession of the large hemispherical shaped arrangement of dry twigs, defending it from attempts by the Magpies to repossess. If there were any eggs they are almost certainly devoured by the omnivorous Crows. One of the evicted birds is vigilantly waiting in the tree for an opportunity to return home but every attempt so far has been beaten back. 

Grizzled SkipperIn the sunshine (about 15° C), the first, and only one, Grizzled Skipper (Butterfly) of the year landed on the lower slopes of Mill Hill for just a few seconds before it flew rapidly over the scrub and out of view. This is the first national record this year.  There was a Red Admiral Butterfly on the footpath at the top of The Drive, Shoreham, and this was the first record of this butterfly for April on these Nature Notes pages. The Red Admiral has now been recorded in every month except May. Other butterflies for the day included one Small White, a handful of both Peacock Butterflies and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies, and one Holly Blue. (6 species)
Adur Butterflies
Adur Butterfly List 2005
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
National Butterflies: First Dates
Butterfly Conservation Society

Dog Violet flowerThe first dozen Dog Violets were in flower on the the Pixie Path to Mill Hill, but on the lower slopes of Mill Hill the Sweet Violet was still the dominant flower with tens of thousands including white specimens forming a carpet of violet in places. No Dog Violets were identified (yet this year) on Mill Hill. 
Adur Violets

I saw my first hirundine of the year for a fraction of a second swooping over Erringham Hill (north of Mill Hill). I think it was a Swallow

9 April 2005
The Great Spotted Cuckoo is last seen flying strongly north from Brooklands

8 April 2005
Part of a fish skeleton was discovered on the strandline on Shoreham Beach, Sussex, as shown in the photograph. There were at least half a dozen of these skulls of various sizes.

The skeleton has not been positively identified, but the best guess is that it is a skull of the Lesser Spotted Dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula.

Report and Photographs by Dave Mason


Great Spotted Cuckoo
Photograph by Marc Read

With the cold wind chill (about  6 ºC) and an air temperature only reaching a maximum of 9.1 ºC, the Great Spotted Cuckoo could have hardly felt at home. It was hiding in the trees on the island in the middle of Brooklands Boating Lake above with what may have been a Moorhen's nest, and thwarting the attempts of over a dozen birdwatchers to get more than a glimpse of the bird. 
Twitchers are here ->

A Coot seemed to have built a nest on the water right next to the island. 

6 April 2005
Conspicuously trotting over the short mown golf course green at Brooklands (east Worthing) the Great Spotted Cuckoo, Clamator glandarius, seemed unaware of its audience of birdwatchers.  Under an overcast sky with a Strong Breeze (Force 6) blowing off the sea from the south-east, the cuckoo could be seen clearly out in the open where it seemed to be pecking at the ground (more like a Pied Wagtail than a Starling) for food. 
Birds of Sussex

The Great Spotted Cuckoo spends the winter in Africa and flies north to southern Europe (including Turkey and Spain) to find a bird's (usually a corvid's, especially Magpies') nest to lay a single clandestine egg for the surrogate parent bird to incubate and feed. It is a rare vagrant to southern England with only 39 records in Britain and Ireland up to the end of 1995. One of those was near Shoreham Airport before in 1990 (seen in Ricardo's Test Field opposite the Sussex Pad).
Birds of Sussex
Great Spotted Cuckoo Photograph
Map Link (The Cuckoo was on the map where the letter 's' is in Golf Course)

Directions Map Link (by popular demand)
Distance from Lancing Station to Brooklands Golf Course = 1932 metres (1.2 miles). No buses. Buses number 700 & 230 run along the seafront from Brighton and Worthing and stop by Brooklands. 
Local map on page

There were a couple of pristine Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the grass (formerly the pitch 'n putt course) immediately to the west of the lake (but not on the golf course where the Great Spotted Cuckoo was).

4 April 2005
A first summer Glaucous Gull, Larus hyperboreus, was seen and identified on the Adur mudflats north of the Railway Viaduct from 1:30 to 2:15 pm and longer. 

This is very likely to have been the gull seen by me two days before. The description of the gull I saw matched that of a Glaucous Gull, but I was inexperienced and did not get a close enough look to make a positive identification.
Birds of Sussex
Glaucous Gull Photograph by Dave Green
Adur Estuary 2005

3 April 2005
An adult Great Spotted Cuckoo, Clamator glandarius, was observed at the Adur Recreation Ground (just west of the Norfolk Bridge), Shoreham at 6:00 pm.
This exotic alien (breeds in Spain) bird was just by the side of the A259 in a small tree approx. 100 metres west of the car park. I managed to pull over, grab my binoculars and get within about six metres of the bird.......and what a beautiful bird it was!
As the last one in 1990 at Shoreham Airport stayed for nearly a month.

Report by Darryl Perry on Sussex Ornithological Society News
Birds of Sussex (Rare Birds)

Afternoon sunshine on the warmest (17.5 ºC) day of the year brought the flying, buzzing, humming and hovering insects out. 
Common Lizard Common Bee-Fly

At the turn (where the stile used to be) on the Pixie Path to Mill Hill, my first Common Lizard, Lacerta viviparus, of the year basked in the sun. 

Humming along and feeding like a humming bird, with its proboscis extended and making sudden darts sticking the long nectar-seeking appendage into garden  primroses, the Common Bee-Fly, Bombylius major, (illustrated above on the right) is one of the most attractive of the flies (Diptera). 

2 April 2005
An unidentified speckled white gull that lacked any black tail feathers was seen on the estuarine mud flats between the the Railway Viaduct and the Toll Bridge. This was later identified as a Glaucous Gull
Full Report

1 April 2005
Mist turned to fog as visibility fell to under 200 metres (by definition) and in Shoreham town at midnight at the turn of the month the visibility was under 50 metres. 
recorded the following just after midnight:
Actual Weather At Shoreham Beach
Max Time Min Time
WIND DIR. SSE  N/A N/A N/A N/A 127 º 18.1 º/Hr
( Light Breeze )
5 MPH 12:03am  3 MPH 12:02am  4 MPH 0.9 MPH/Hr
RECENT GUST 5 MPH 6 MPH 12:00am  4 MPH 12:02am  5 MPH -0.4 MPH/Hr
TEMPERATURE 10.8 ºC 10.9 ºC 12:03am  10.8 ºC 12:02am  11.0 ºC -0.2 ºC/Hr
DEW POINT 8.5 ºC 8.6 ºC 12:03am  8.4 ºC 12:00am  8.8 ºC -0.3 ºC/Hr
HUMIDITY 86 % 86 % 12:02am  85 % 12:00am  86 % -0.4 %/Hr
WIND CHILL 9.9 ºC 8.5 ºC 12:02am  9.9 ºC 12:05am  10.5 ºC -0.5 ºC/Hr
PRESSURE 1026 mb 1026 mb 12:00am  1026 mb 12:03am  1026 mb 0.17 mb

Link to Shoreham Beach Weather provided by Softwair Publishing

The exact sea temperature is not available quite yet. At the turn of March to April the surface sea temperature in the shallow waters off Sussex would be expected to be about 7ºC.

For a technical explanations why fog occurs the browser is recommended to consult a meteorological reference. In simplified terms it is a low flying cloud comprised of water vapour (with particulate matter, it could be called smog). On the coast it occurs when the air temperature is higher than the sea temperature and the high humidity air cools and condenses. 
Lizard with a stunted tail (Photograph by Katherine Hamblett)
Rock turning and searching amongst the broken flint walls and hulks down by the River Adur estuary at low tide (midway between the Toll Bridge and the Railway Viaduct on the eastern bank) produced the first discoveries of Slow-Worms and Common Lizards of the year. The lizards seemed to have lost their tails and the regrowing part was stunted. 
Full Report with photographs

Reptile Report by the Hamblett family

December 2004 Reports
November 2004 Reports
October 2004 Reports
September 2004 Reports
August 2004 Reports
July 2004 Reports
June 2004 Reports
May 2004 Reports
April 2004 Reports

Mill Hill 2004 (with new map)
History of Mill Hill
Mill Hill News Reports 2004

Chalk Downs 2004
Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea

MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and Downs

Urban Wildlife Webring

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

Link to Adur Valley Nature Notes 2003Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2004 Index page

Adur Valley Nature Notes  January to March 2002
Adur Valley Nature Notes  April - June 2002
Adur Valley Nature Notes  July - September 2002
Adur Valley Nature Notes  October - December 2002

Mill Hill, north of Shoreham

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