NATURE NOTES      2009
Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex

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August 2009


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

Adur Coastal & Marine
Adur Estuary & Levels
Mill Hill & the Downs
Urban Reports

Southern Hawker on Mill Hill  (Photograph by Alec Trusler)
Carline Thistle
Small Tortoiseshell on Creeping Thistle

Mill Hill

Painted Lady

Painted Lady


Mating Adonis Blues on Carline Thistle25 August 2009
On a breezy day, the one acre transect on the lower slopes of Mill Hill hosted 38 Adonis Blue Butterflies with the 17 females the highest recorded count for this gender. There were at least a handful of couples courting and mating. 
Full Butterfly Report

22 August 2009
In the late afternoon (3:30 pm) of Shoreham Air Show, the sun was still out and a smattering of butterflies on the lower slopes of Mill Hill where I recorded 28 male Adonis Blues, and spotted three or four Clouded Yellow Butterflies amongst the 13 species.

17 August 2009
I was shocked by the sighting of a Brown Hairstreak Butterfly* on Mill Hill south of the upper car park near some Brambles. It flew off rapidly and was lost to my sight in about 20 seconds, so this was my first ever glimpse of this hedgerow butterfly that lays its eggs on Blackthorn (Sloe). This has increased the total species seen in Shoreham and all on Mill Hill to 33. Nineteen species of butterfly seen on the day on Mill Hill and the Adur Levels including 54 Adonis Blues.
*Later doubts have crept in about the identification of this butterfly. I did not get a good enough look to be 100% certain.

Full Butterfly Report
Full Butterfly List by Location

Wasp Spider16 August 2009
By the Steyning Road in Old Shoreham (near the start of the footpath to the Waterworks Road and Mill Hill before the Field Maple tunnel) I spotted my first Wasp Spider, Argiope bruennichi, of 2009. It had spun a web over the Brambles and other  vegetation. Very close by a small black and yellow hoverfly Xanthogramma pedissequum flitted in the undergrowth. 
Adur Spiders

15 August 2009
While running the rockpooling event for Friends of Shoreham Beach we discovered amongst other things a dead Compass Jellyfish. This was on the beach behind the Old Fort. 

Report by Steve Savage
BMLSS Compass Jellyfish

August 2009
Two families of Mute Swans are resident on Widewater Lagoon every year. One morning an adult female Mute Swan was found dead. The cause is unknown but predation by a Fox is suspected. The cygnets will be able to fend for themselves with the male still in attendance. 

Report by Lancing Parish Council and World of Widewater
Adur Coastal 2009 (including Widewater) Reports

13 August 2009
Three Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, were noted on the Old Fort walls in the weak sunshine. Seventeen species of butterfly were seen in the early afternoon on the outskirts of Shoreham.
Full Butterfly Report

12 August 2009
Something made me look up towards the cloudy sky over the northern slope of Anchor Bottom: a large dark bird soared through the sky and by its broad wing shape I recognised a Buzzard. Less than a minute afterwards it was mobbed by a Crow, but it glided westwards unperturbed and then out of sight. A flock of thirty or more Rooks were seen in the same area, followed by flock of 300+ Starlings that flew up in unison as the Buzzard glided past. The first Autumn Lady's Tresses (a small orchid) and Harebell of 2009 were spotted on the Horseshoe Vetch slope at Anchor Bottom.
Seventeen species of butterfly were seen in the early afternoon on the trip along the Downs-Coastal Link Cyclepath from Old Shoreham to Annington Sewer and back with a detour to Anchor Bottom. 
Full Butterfly Report
Dragonfly Report
Adur Orchids

10 August 2009
Painted Lady Butterflies were everywhere in town and country with over fifty an hour seen. Just a little too overcast and breezy for butterflies to be out, but there were just 13 Chalkhill Blues on the lower slopes of Mill Hill and 41 Adonis Blues. Meadow Browns were frequently seen including mating pairs. 

Common Blue
Common Blue
Adonis Blue
Chalkhill Blue

There must have in excess of 200 Common Blues of both sexes in the long herb meadows at the top of Mill Hill, but even this is a fraction of what can be seen of this butterfly in peak years when the numbers runs into thousands. There were a few Brown Argus as well but it is difficult to be sure how many when there were scores of female Common Blues. Seventeen species of butterfly were seen in an hour. 
Full Butterfly Report
New Wild Flowers

9 August 2009
The lower slopes of Mill Hill were more crowded with butterflies than the previous week but the one acre transect still only recorded a meagre total of 35 Chalkhill Blues (including two females) with 30 Adonis Blues (including one female) and slightly less in number of Common Blues of both sexes. Meadow Browns were about the same in numbers with a handful of huge females. 

Wall Brown
Female Chalkhill Blue

Wall Brown and Small Heath Butterflies were included in a total of seventeen species of butterfly in under an hour including a Dingy Skipper on the lower slopes of Mill Hill and a Small Skipper south of the Reservoir the only part of the Nature Reserve visited in the morning. Seventeen species of butterfly were seen in an hour.
Adur Skippers
Full Butterfly Report

6 August 2009
Common BluesOn a humid sunny morning the Chalkhill Blue Butterfly count in a 15 minute transect on the lower slopes of Mill Hill was a paltry 37 with just one female seen. There were frequent Common Blues including males courting with very small females. The first male second brood Adonis Blues were recognised when they settled, as in flight they could not separated reliably from Common Blues. There could have been up to a dozen of them. Four Clouded Yellows were notable, with one on the lower slopes and at least three on the upper slopes with two either sparring or courting. Small Heaths are back and at least two were seen one on the lower slopes and another in the upper meadows. Seventeen butterfly species were noted including four not seen the previous day and two of these not seen before this month. This total was missing some common species which could reasonably be expected if I had spent more time looking. 
Full Butterfly Report

5 August 2009
One large dragonfly with a bright blue abdomen cruised over Lancing Ring dewpond without stopping for at least 15 minutes and probably considerably longer. It did not seem big enough for an Emperor Dragonfly but this its most likely identity. The first red Common Darter (dragonfly) of the year was also seen resting whilst I was waiting for this large impressive insect to settle so I could have a closer look. 
Two Clouded Yellow Butterflies flew strongly over the short grass immediately to the east of the main clump of trees on Lancing Ring. Seventeen species of butterfly were seen on a sunny humid day.
Full Butterfly Report

3 August 2009
The sun was out, but alas not the Chalkhill Blues in their expected numbers on Mill Hill with just 47 noted which means that the number of the Chalkhill Blues in flight on Mill Hill were probably around 150 which is a disastrously low total. 
This Chalkhill Blue appeared to be ill or poisoned and it could he handled. This has been seen before in previous years.

There were well over a hundred Common Blues on the meadows to the north of the northern car park on Mill Hill with frequent Painted Ladies all over the hill, about ten Peacock Butterflies, a surprise Brimstone Butterfly, and just two fresh first of the year Essex Skippers (could have been Small Skippers). The variety of butterfly species was fine with twenty species recorded which was the second best day total ever. The list included my first Small Copper of the year on Anchor Bottom.
Full Butterfly Report
List of Species
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

2 August 2009
Common Blue
Brown Argus 

I planned to visit the whole of Mill Hill, but I only had time for the upper meadow which was alive with butterflies. Over one hundred Common Blue Butterflies were seen amongst the tall herbs, with frequent Painted Ladies, eight Wall Browns, frequent Gatekeepers, at least four and probably many more Brown Argus Butterflies, with at least one Large White, frequent Peacocks (including seven seen altogether on Greater Knapweed), at least two Meadow Browns and a Red Admiral. A few Six-spotted Burnet Moths were seen before I had to curtail my visit. 
Full Butterfly Report
Brown Argus Identification Notes

Sussex Butterfly Reports (Butterfly Conservation Society)
UK Butterflies: Sightings

History of Mill Hill
Mill Hill News Reports 2009

Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea
Shoreham and District Ornithological Society
Lancing Village

Adur Valley Network (forum)

MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and Downs

Urban Wildlife Webring

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2008 web pages
    The Shoreham-by-Sea web site started on 1 January 1997.
Webmaster: Andy Horton.

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