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Latest Nature Notes and Index page 2002

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




August 2004

* 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

Chalkhill Blue

Chalkhill Blue (male)


16 September 2004
Leisure & Resources Adur District Council Committee meeting
Management of Mill Hill and Lancing Ring

The Councillors passed the inadequate Management Plan prepared by the South Downs Conservation Board for Mill Hill, but rejected the plan for Lancing Ring. 

17 August 2004
Management of Mill Hill and Lancing Ring
Lancing Parish Hall, South Lancing
7:00 pm
This is the Public meeting to proceed the Scrutiny Meeting* decided by an Adur Council Committee meeting on 4 May 2002. (* It is possible that the Council will try to ignore this Committee decision.)


31 August 2004
Volucella zonariaThe large hoverfly Volucella zonaria was nectaring on Ivy near the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road.
More Images
Adur Hoverflies

Another small Vernal Crab, Liocarcinus vernalis, was discovered on the beach opposite Brooklands Boating Lake on the low spring tide.
Adur Low Tide Reports

The butterfly season looks like coming a close with very few flowering plants on Mill Hill, apart from Stemless Thistle and Carline Thistle attractive to them. Adonis Blues and Common Blues were around on the lower slopes in about equal numbers, about a dozen males each with the brown females hiding in the grass and the same number of Chalkhill Blues which were battered and worn. There were at least two Brown Argus Butterflies on the lower slopes with 20+ Small Heaths and few Small Whites. A handful of Speckled Woods were seen amongst the scrub.

30 August 2004

Brown Hawker (Photograph by Brenda Collins)

A Brown Hawker (dragonfly) was seen  just west of the cemetery below Lancing Ring. This is the first record on these Nature Notes web pages.

Report and Photograph by Brenda Collins
29 August 2004
A Roe Deer was spotted in a crowded McIntyres Field (to the east of Lancing Clump) on a day when I nearly stepped on an Adder. Autumn Ladies Tresses Orchid, Spiranthes spiralis, were in flower in the chalkpit. 
Report by Jan Hamblett

26 August 2004
The second brood Adonis Blue Butterflies were out on Mill Hill: a count of 29 males were recorded, all on the lower slopes. A similar number of at least 29 Chalkhill Blues were also out on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. The commonest butterflies were the Small Heaths with fifty plus. Other species included Meadow Browns, Common Blues, Holly Blues, Speckled Woods and Small Whites.
Adur Butterfly List 2004
Adonis Blue Butterfly

Adonis Blue Butterfly (male) 

The deluge of two days ago may have contributed to the appearance of three mushroom species. 
Fungi Report
Fungi of Shoreham

25 August 2004
Southern HawkerA Southern Hawker (dragonfly), Aeshna cyanea, caught a Small White Butterfly in flight, captured and held it, found a perch and then ate it on Lancing beach in a process that took about three minutes. An immigrant Painted Lady Butterfly was resting nearby.
Full Report and Extra Images

24 August 2004
The black Cumulonimbus clouds moved over quickly, the thunder rumbled and the downs were obscured and the heavy rain squalls lasted for about ten minutes, and then the sky cleared.  (Image)  Later the heavy showers increased in duration. The rain total for the day was 20.32 mm (cf. 53.8 mm on 12 October 2000 and 26.42 mm on 7 July 2004).

Shoreham Beach: Monthly Weather Summaries
It was at the start of one of these brief deluges that a Sparrowhawk swooped in a swift arcing flight over a garden in The Drive, Shoreham, (near Buckingham Park). This is the second time that this raptor has been seen in this garden.
Full Report

22 August 2004
Wall Brown ButterflyIn Oxen Avenue, residential area of Shoreham, the first Clouded Yellow Butterfly of August fluttered northwards, the black edge to the yellow wings distinctive. Often when I see one there would be more on the downs but in the late afternoon there wasn't any more Clouded Yellows, and the only other immigrant was a Painted Lady Butterfly with the resident butterfly species, including Wall Browns, and other insects including a female Emperor Dragonfly.
Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies
Adur Butterfly and Large Moth List 2004

Hornet Robber Fly, Asilus crabroniformis, (a Biodiversity Action Plan species), a rare rather menacing looking large flying predatory insect associated in this case with horse's dung and reputed to prey on the dung insects, settled on the path (the footpath from the Waterworks Road next to the Horse's Fields on the way to Mill Hill) in front of me, the second one of these flies I had seen in the last few days. It is a strong flyer. 

Hornet Robber Fly

Identification by Malcolm Storey on the British Insects Yahoo Group
Hornet Robber Fly (More Information)

21 August 2004
Birds everywhere are on the move, with flocks of Starlings of over one hundred over the Hasler Estate (north of Widewater) and three Wheatears flying around Widewater car park east, before embarking on their long migration south.
Wheatears at New Erringham

c. 20 August 2004
Whilst night diving at Shoreham beach, West Sussex I found a bright banded orange and white prawn. It was spinning around proabaly to avoid my torch light. This appears to be one of the Prosseca species which are seen at night. They lack the pronounced rostrum of the abundant Palaemon species of prawn.

Sussex Marine Life Reports
Adur Intertidal

19 August 2004
Just the second magnificent site of a female Emperor Dragonfly this year, flying to and fro under the canopy of the Butterfly Copse (TQ 209 063) near the Waterworks Road, with over a dozen Common Darters being slightly furtive. Another large blue dragonfly was seen which was probably a Southern Hawker Dragonfly (but the identity could not be confirmed). A few brighter Red Admirals and a Painted Lady were around in a year that has seen very few migrant butterflies. 
Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies
Adur Butterfly and Large Moth List 2004

17 August 2004

Clouded Yellow (Photograph by Brenda Collins)
A Chalkhill Blue Butterfly and Clouded Yellow Butterfly are photographed on Lancing Ring meadows. 
Female Adonis Blue (Photograph by Brenda Collins from Lancing Ring meadows) Male Adonis Blue (Photograph by Brenda Collins from Lancing Ring meadows)

An Adonis Blue Butterfly is recorded and both males and females are photographed, the first time this butterfly has been recorded from the Lancing Ring meadows.

Report by Brenda Collins

16 August 2004
I visited the upper slopes of Mill Hill for the primary purpose of photographing the underwings of the small brown blue butterflies to make sure I had identified the female Common Blue Butterflies and the Brown Argus Butterflies correctly.
Female Common Blue
Brown Argus Butterfly

The underwing views confirmed my original identifications (on the underside hind wing of the Brown Argus two of the spots line up to form a colon). The Brown Argus Butterflies were usually smaller, although occasionally very small Common Blue Butterflies occurred.
More Images

Eleven species of butterfly were recorded on Mill Hill and a total of thirteen different species for the day. 
Adur Butterfly and Large Moth List 2004

15 August 2004
Butterfly Walk on Lancing Ring
Brianne Reeve led the walk which started at 11:00 am, 30 minutes later than planned because of the continual rain and was of restricted duration and length, just skirting the meadows to the west of Barton's Wood, and never even approaching Lancing Clump itself, and in between the repeated showers, the walk was not noted for its butterflies, it was nevertheless interesting in a lot of respects. 

Noteworthy observations included a handful of Brown Argus Butterflies, the first time these had been observed in these meadows: they appeared grey in flight (more like a Small Blue) and all the butterflies observed lacked the white in the lunules underneath the orange rim spots on the upper wing (which occur on the very similar female Common Blue Butterflies, which appears orangey or blue-brown-blue in flight). 
Brown Argus Identification Notes
Brown Argus from Lancing Ring meadows
Female Common Blue from the A27 bank south of Buckingham Barn (i.e. top of The Drive)
Brown Argus
Female Common Blue

Other things of Interest were a few both male and female Wasp Spiders, with the female in the centre of the web and the smaller male nearby, and in an area where they had not been seen before; a Magpie Moth, and at least six other species of common butterflies.
Adur Wasp Spiders
Adur Butterflies
The male Wasp Spider is half the size of the female. Female Wasp Spider

The very best sight was left to last when Ray Hamblett discovered a Common Toad in a hole, in the middle of a flowery meadow. 
Toad in a Hole Magpie Moth

More Images of Lancing Ring (by Brenda Collins)

13 August 2004
At least two, and probably many more, Migrant Hawkers, Aeshna mixta, flew over St. Michael's churchyard in Southwick. These impressive dragonflies cruised around, much too rapidly to photograph, at head height and above. 
Twelve species of butterflies were recorded on an unfavourable day with a Strong Breeze approaching Gale Force on the downs and rain showers. 
Adur Butterfly and Large Moth List 2004

11 August 2004
A large blue dragonfly was hawking over the Willow Tree area (behind the Withy Patch) of New Monks Farm, Lancing. At first I thought it was an Emperor Dragonfly because of its size, but the markings were more black than blue, so I think this must be a Migrant Hawker, Aeshna mixta
Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies

10 August 2004
The dearth of the Vanessid butterflies has been so marked by the scarcity of the Red Admirals, Small Tortoiseshells, Peacocks and Painted Ladies this year that it is being remarked on by the general public. This is occurring all over England, with just a few exceptions. 
Adur Butterfly List 2004
Adur Butterflies

The early morning (8.00 am) temperature was 19.6 ºC with a humidity of 93% with not even a breeze (Light Air, Force 1) and light rain at 1.5 mm an hour. The early morning Heat Index was 22.9 ºC. (The Heat Index caution level is above 25 ºC.)

9 August 2004
A Little Egret is seen feeding by Old Shoreham Toll Bridge.

Report by Brenda Collins
NB: Little Egrets are now a regular bird seen feeding on the River Adur estuary and there is usually one or more on Widewater Lagoon.

8 August 2004
Small BlueAt the top of The Drive (opposite Buckingham Barn on the south A27 road bank), a grey Small Blue Butterfly was seen, possibly the same one seen on 25 July 2004. This second brood Small Blue is a notable record.
Adur Butterfly List 2004
Adur Butterflies Flight Times

A woman was stung by a Weever Fish, Echiichthys vipera, whilst bathing off Shoreham Beach.
Beware of the Weever

Adur Intertidal
Sussex Marine Life Reports 2004

The temperature reached 28.8 ºC during the day.

7 August 2004
In a heatwave (25.3 ºC), it was disappointing as I seemed to have missed the peak for the emergence of the Chalkhill Blue Butterflies this year. On the lower slopes of Mill Hill; my estimated count was about 175 evenly distributed over the slopes with a few in the long grasses on the top, giving a total number of about 500. 
Brown Argus from Mill Hill Mill Hill lower slopes showing the Wayfaring Tree in the foreground

As a bonus there were plenty of other butterflies around, including a few Brown Argus Butterflies, my first confirmed sighting of this species from Mill Hill, the absence of white lunules nearer than the linear orange spots to edge of the upper wing distinctive and separating these from the female Common Blue Butterflies. Male Common Blue Butterflies exceeded one hundred in the long grasses, mostly north of the car park. At the northern end of the lower slopes a pristine Adonis Blue was immediately distinctive from the Chalkhill Blues, which were all worn and battered to some extent. Wall Browns numbered about ten mostly just south of the reservoir where the Cocksfoot is, it was difficult to be sure of their numbers with their repeated sparring with the Meadow Browns. Small Heath Butterflies were frequently seen, and their numbers must have been underestimated before. Fifteen species of butterfly were seen around midday. A Red Admiral Butterfly was added to the list in the early evening. 
Mill Hill Nature Reserve
Adur Butterfly List 2004
Adur First Butterfly Dates 2004
Brown Argus Identification Notes

About 3:30 am in the night, a Red Fox was seen my south Lancing front garden (TQ 186 044) and its eerie call which sounds like a strangled pheasant.

Early August 2004
A Swallowtail Moth, Ourapteryx sambucaria, was a surprise and colourful observation at the western end of Widewater Lagoon. This spectacular moth may be regarded as nothing special by moth enthusiasts, but to the ordinary nature spotter it is an unusual and usually unrecognised insect when first seen. This is the first report on these Nature Notes pages of a nocturnal native moth with a short flying time in July. 

Report by David Wood
2 August 2004
For investigative purposes I visited Anchor Bottom, (Dacre Gardens entrance), near Upper Beeding, for a comparative look at the lower part of this downland, which in historical times, before the "improvement" and cattle gazing, had a reputation for butterflies. Dodging the cow pats in the long coarse grasses, I observed just a dozen butterflies of four species, including one smaller than usual Chalkhill Blue.
I also visited the Slonk Hill North road embankment which contains an expanse of more upright Horseshoe Vetch which is within the dispersal area of Mill Hill Chalkhill Blues, but despite being established for over 30 years, this area was noted by a complete absence of butterflies and no Chalkhill Blues, not even a vagrant was seen. 
In contrast a small garden plot sized area of road embankment south-east of the bridge, over the by-pass, to Mill Hill contained twenty male Chalkhill Blues. 

The conclusions I drew were:

1) The plan to reintroduce Chalkhill Blues to the road embankment has failed in a 30 year time frame, despite a vast expanse of Horseshoe Vetch. The establishment of Small Blues has succeeded in the same time. 
2) Anchor Bottom (SSSI) has been destroyed as a worthwhile butterfly site (from 1950 onwards).

Mill Hill with the southern area in the foreground

3)  60% of Mill Hill has been destroyed by ecological succession into woodland and a further 25% has been destroyed by a mixture of scrub, cattle grazing and human activity; all occurring during my lifetime. This has the result of reducing the population of Chalkhill Blues on Mill Hill in 1960 from my estimate of up to 40,000 Chalkhill Blues to an absolute maximum of 6,000 nowadays and this could be considerably less as the maximum daily total I have recorded is 3,000. 

1 August 2004
The beach between Worthing and Lancing seems an unpromising area for rockpooling but it consistently provides a variety of some of the less usual small fish and crabs found between the tides. Katherine Hamblett and Tacita French discovered a young first year Worm Pipefish, Nerophis lumbriciformis, which is unusual this far east up the English Channel. There were unusual crabs as well as more common crustaceans like small Common Hermit Crabs, Pagurus bernhardus, and Squat Lobsters, Galathea squamifera. 
Botrylloides leachi
Star Ascidian on a rock
Botrylloides schlosseri
A colonial tunicate or sea-squirt
Click on the image for more information about the critters in the bucket

The itinerary of discoveries on the low spring tide can be found on the bucket page. The swimming crabs Liocarcinus vernalis and Liocarcinus arcuatus have been identified, with one specimen of the small Short-legged Spider Crab, Eurynome aspera, several small Long-legged Spider Crabs, Macropodia sp.,and Hairy Crabs, Pilumnus hirtellus.
Full Report
Adur Intertidal Seashore
BMLSS Intertidal Crabs
Halfbricking: Bucket of Critters
Kingston Buci Beach 2004

By far the largest Slow Worm I have ever seen was basking on the chalk path that leads down to the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Coiled, it completely covered the path, and it must have sensed the vibrations of my approach, as it uncoiled and slid off into the wayside scrubbery, revealing its length to be at least 30 cm.

On the lower slopes, I must a have missed a few emergences and the Chalkhill Blue Butterflies I attempted to count and eventually arrived at a estimate of about 225 on the half transect ramble. This would make me estimate about 600 Chalkhill Blues on the hill. They were already beginning to disperse. Females were frequently discovered but they could be outnumbered by about ten to one by the blue males. Many of the Chalkhill Blues were worn, not yet frayed at the edges, but none seemed to be in new pristine condition. A few of the Chalkhill Blue Butterflies had an extensive brown tinge on the wings. The total number of butterflies on the hill actually seen exceeded 300. Fifteen different species of butterfly were seen during the day.  Two second brood Brimstone Butterflies were on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, although one was in the scrub to the north
Adur Butterfly List

A Green Woodpecker flew arrow-like along the top of the ridge calling loudly.

Lower Slopes of Mill Hill 2004 (Link)

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 2003Latest Nature Notes and Index page 2002

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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