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April 2007


Reports by Andy Horton from personal observation unless otherwise indicated
Clicking on the new thumbnail-style images will reveal a larger photograph
Adur Levels
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Lancing Nature


29 April 2007
Adonis Blue ButterflyI saw over 139 butterflies of an unprecedented sixteen species in a day in April.
My tally included the first Brown Argus Butterfly of the year on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Adonis Blue and Clouded Yellow Butterflies were seen, but the exceptional report was of 14 Burnet Companion Moths, a larger number than usual, amongst the familiar skippers
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Butterfly Flight Times (New File)
Adur Moths

28 April 2007
Thirteen species of butterfly on a breezy Mill Hill included a Green Hairstreak Butterfly.

Report by Tom Ottley on Sussex Butterflies

The first definite Green Hairstreak report since a probable on 15 May 2003 and brings the Shoreham butterfly species list up to 32.

27 April 2007
The South Downs Conservation Board have made a right mess of Mill Hill. They have turned it into a cattle toilet with cow excrement all over the place. 
Tip: wear old shoes, or leave a visit for a week until most of it is washed away. 
The cattle may have been removed or are hiding amongst the scrub. 
Butterfly Report
Convolvulus Hawk-moth (Photograph by Richard Poxon) Late April 2007
The Convolvulus Hawk-moth, Agrius convolvuli, hatched out into the adult female imago. The caterpillar was discovered by Paul Graysmark on 29 October 2006 and it had buried into the soft earth on 30 October 2006 to metamorphises into the pupae. It was kept in a controlled environment by Richard Poxon who recorded its emergence. 
Caterpillar Report

24 April 2007
Sensationally, I disturbed the largest Grass Snake, Natrix natrix, I had ever seen basking on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. I got a good look at the coiled up reptile before it slithered off rapidly into the scrub on the western side. I would estimate its length at well over one metre long and it circumference of its body in its thickest place at 6+ cm. I have downsized the original size estimate but it was still twice the size of the usual Grass Snakes seen.
Milkwort lies prostrate amongst the leaves of Horseshoe Vetch on Mill Hill Green-veined White (not a female Orange Tip) at Cuckoo's Corner

In intermittent sunshine, I managed to see 14 of 15 species of butterflies that appeared including my earliest ever Adonis Blue Butterfly on the Shoreham Bank  and the first time this year a Green-veined White Butterfly settled long enough to be sure of its identity. At Cuckoo's Corner, where the first red and azure blue damselflies of the year were spotted in the undergrowth. 
Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Butterfly Flight Times (New File)
Adur Damselflies & Dragonflies 2007
Images from Mill Hill (by Paul Lister)

A dog discovered a large Adder basking in the sun on Southwick Hill. 

Hearsay Report

The South Downs Conservation Board have gone ahead of their plan to install commercial breeds of cattle on Mill Hill Nature Reserve and public open land, introducing ten large beef cattle to the top part of the hill. They started grazing the rough grassland and herbage south of Reservoir which cannot do any environmental harm in the long term, but the mess of their cow pats is a nuisance on a publicly owned amenity land and Nature Reserve. There is nothing to stop the cattle moving on to the wildlife meadows north of the reservoir or descending down to the lower slopes where the destruction would be like letting cattle into your garden, except the damage will be permanent because Horseshoe Vetch (the food plant of the Chalkhill Blue Butterfly) cannot survive cattle grazing and never (not in a 100 years) recovers from such deliberate vandalism. 

22 April 2007
A bright flash of yellow and a Clouded Yellow Butterfly fluttering over the lower slopes of Mill Hill was the first I had seen this year and very first recorded on these Nature Notes for the month of April. This was one of nine species of butterfly I recorded on the downs in the hour before midday.
Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Butterfly Flight Times (New File)

20 April 2007
Green-winged OrchidOn an almost barren hillside, the first Green-winged Orchids, Orchis morio, of the year were pushing up from the southern side turf on Anchor Bottom, Upper Beeding. The spiky bits known as phyllaries of the Red Star Thistle, Centaurea calcitrapa were found on pasture south of the Cement Works.
Adur Orchids
Wild Flora and Fauna on Chalk  flickr

18 April 2007
The seashore off Lancing Beach Green at low tide was silted up much more than Worthing two days earlier and the fauna on the rocky patch was much poorer, notably frequent Squat Lobsters, Galathea squamifera, Hairy Crabs, Pilumnus hirtellus, and tiny Long-clawed Porcelain Crabs, Pisidia longicornis, under rocks which attracted the attention of ten Crows. One notable discovery was one very small specimen of the Pimplet Anemone, Anthopleura ballii
The Crow turns over a rock

One Crow was persistent, pecking at sponges and seaweeds on rocks, inserting its beak in nooks and crannies, seen with very small crabs or sponges in his mouth about once every two minutes at least five times, and one occasion it used its beak to roll a large rounded rock completely over. 
Full Report

16 April 2007
A rockpooling trip in the calm sunshine to Worthing Pier was rewarded with abundant sea anemones and crab-like crustaceans notably a half a dozen Hairy Hermit Crabs, Pagurus cuanensis, one of the infrequently encountered species seen at low tide

Hairy Hermit Crab
Some of the larger Snakelocks Anemones, Anemonia viridis, were 60 mm in diameter before splitting into two separate anemones. The Daisy Anemone, Cereus pedunculatus, was common, when in some years it it is infrequent or absent. Squat Lobsters, Galathea squamifera, and Hairy Crabs, Pilumnus hirtellus, were seen under every suitable rock. An empty shell of the the Common Wentletrap, Epitonium ciathrus, was discovered. Even empty shells of this gastropod are unusual on the shore. 
Full Report
Adur World Oceans Day 2007
British Marine Life Study Society

15 April 2007
About 56 butterflies of twelve species were seen in Shoreham and the outskirts during the day including the first Small Heath Butterfly (probably the first in England) and my first Dingy Skippers of the year on the lower slopes of Mill Hill

The dark pyralid moth above is Pyrausta nigrata.
Butterfly Report

14 April 2007
At Mill Hill in the early afternoon on the lower slopes I saw at least ten Grizzled Skippers also two Dingy Skippers (first of the year). Plenty of Peacocks and Brimstones also four Small Whites, one Comma and one Small Tortoiseshell.

Report by Ian Barnard on Sussex Butterflies
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

A real scorcher for April recording the highest air temperature of the year so far at 24.2 ºC at 3:48 pm.

13 April 2007
The first Horseshoe Vetch and Milkwort appeared in flower on the lower slopes of Mill Hill with a handful of each seen. 
My first Large White Butterfly of the year flew rapidly over the top of Chanctonbury Drive, south-east of Mill Hill. Eight species of butterfly were seen in an hour around midday. A juvenile Slow Worm, the first I had seen in 2007, slithered slowly over the towpath next to Adur Business Park near the petrol pump storage area. 
Butterfly Report
A common species of small crab spider known as the Zebra Spider, Salticus scenicus was seen on the green roadside box on the southern side of the Slonk Hill Cutting. I did not know at the time that it had caught its supper.
Click on the image for a bigger picture.

Although the morning was a bit breezy and slightly overcast, the sunny early afternoon was warm for the first time this year, recording an air temperature of 21.3 ºC at 2:47 pm

Shoreham Weather Reports 2007

12 April 2007
My first Swallow of 2007 flew low over Mill Hill in the early afternoon. Earlier, a pair of Grizzled Skippers courted over the lower slopes, the first of this butterfly I had seen this year. Frequent pyralid moths flitted about in the sunshine.
Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

11 April 2007
My first immigrant Wheatear was spotted near Cuckoo's Corner
By the Ladywell Stream on the Coombes Road my first two male Orange Tip Butterflies of the year could be seen clearly fluttering in the distance, over a bed of Lesser Celandine and Dandelions, on the road verges 60 metres or so north of the Garlic Mustard flowering just north of Cuckoo's Corner.
Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Wild Flowers

10 April 2007
There was a lot of buzzing in my front garden in residential Shoreham, with my first female Spring (Hairy-footed) Flower Bee of the year that visited the flowering Rosemany.

9 April 2007
My personal species tally of butterflies for the year was increased by two with my first Holly Blue on the Pixie Path to Mill Hill and my first Speckled Wood at the top of Chanctonbury Drive (SE of the bridge over the A27 to Mill Hill). In the short-sleeves weather butterflies came in steady dribs and drabs with just the one Small White on the Adur Levels just north of Old Shoreham, about eleven Brimstone Butterflies, a similar number of Peacocks, and three Commas. Bees, bugs and flies were only occasionally seen. 

Peacock Butterfly
An immigrant alien Harlequin Ladybird, Harmonia axyridis succinea was seen and recognised on an Alexander leaf near Old Shoreham Toll Bridge
Butterfly Report
Adur Ladybirds

8 April 2007
In the sunshine, the Sloethorn was in flower on the Adur Levels

6 April 2007
In the sunshine, the air temperature recorded of 19.4 ºC at 3:30 pm was the warmest so far this year. This is an exceptionally high temperature for early April.
Shoreham Beach Real Time Weather

Brimstone Butterfly2 April 2007
With a northerly breeze blowing, butterflies were frequent for the first time this year with 33 in flight of five species: Peacocks, Small Whites, Commas, Small Tortoiseshells and Brimstone Butterflies. Dog Violets were noticed in flower for the first time this year on the lower slopes of Mill Hill
Butterfly Report
Adur Wild Flowers

Shoreham Weather Reports 2007



Chalk Downs 2007
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