Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2004 Index page

Link to the Adur Levels habitats page

Link to the Adur tidal reaches habitats web page

Link to the chalkhill Downs habitats pages

Link to Town & Gardens habitats page

Link to the Sea and Seashore habitats page

Link to web pages

 Adur Flood Plain
 Chalk Downs
 Coastal Fringe
 Intertidal (Seashore)
 River Adur Estuary
 River Adur Flood Plain
 Sea (off Sussex)
 Town & Gardens
 Widewater Lagoon
 Lancing Beach
 Kingston Buci Beach 2004
 (Shoreham Harbour)


Adur Valley Wildlife

 Coastal Fringe:  Southwick, Shoreham, Lancing and East Worthing Beaches

Shoreham Beach is a shingle spit about three miles long, separated from town of Shoreham-by-Sea (Sussex) by the River Adur, which been has deflected eastwards by the longshore drift over the centuries. Wood and rock groynes have been installed to stabilise the moving shingle and to minimise erosion and prevent flooding. 

Waves rolling in over the sand flats of Lancing
on a high spring tide

From the turn of the century the creeping permanent development and re-development of the natural fringing beach at Shoreham has gradually covered the main shingle bank, leaving a narrow strip, squeezed between houses and sea. 

This flat strip of seemingly lifeless pebbles that has once more held out against a winter sea, is set to surprise and delight us, as seeds and roots of last years flowering respond to longer days, and find nourishment and moisture.   In April and early May they burst upon us with a brilliant flowering border adapted to the harsh conditions.

by David Wood (Shoreham Beach)

Ringed PloverBirds of the Shingle
    Ringed Plover
    Black-headed Gull
    Pied Wagtail


Link to the Coastal Wildlife Reports for 2005

29 December 2004
An old dessicated mushroom (photographed on the right) found on an old wooden groyne on the shingle part of Shoreham Beach near the kiosk at the eastern end of Widewater Lagoon car park was possibly a species of Agrocybe. It was incongruous on the beach, but it looked like a common species on a poor condition, so I did not stop to examine it closely. 

Volvariella3 November 2004
A large mushroom was spotted on Lancing beach by the sailing club building, on the shingle but where some soil has collected against the wooden fence boundary between the shingle and the concrete path. It was the species which is distinctive because of the presence of a volva from which the tapering stipe (stem) grows. It was the easily identified Volvariella gloiocephala. This species is sometimes known as the Straw Mushroom, Volvariella speciosa (its old name).
Fungi of Shoreham

There were two chirms of Goldfinches by the scrub next to Widewater of eight and five birds respectively. 

20 October 2004
As the weather changes the birds are on the move. Two chirms of Goldfinches arrived  One flock over the wild wasteland area between Widewater Lagoon and the beach huts and the sea, numbered at least 16 finches but in the second group over Lancing Beach Green there were only eight birds. There were a handful of pipits, looking more like Rock Pipits than the commoner Meadow Pipits

22 September 2004
On an overcast day with a Strong Breeze from the south-west, there wasn't anything of special note. The pink of the Thrift was still to be see on the Widewwater Lagoon flood plain east of the bridge. And Common Mallow was still in flower with the red berries of Bittersweet 

14 September 2004
After the morning gales, but still with a strong Breeze (Force 6) three Crows were dropping shellfish (molluscs, probably mussels) from a height on to Lancing Beach Green beach below, one dropping their prey on to the new rock sea defences in an attempt to break open the shells. 

25 August 2004
It seemed if the dragonfly flew in off the sea as the flight was a rapid south to north over a narrow area of beach shingle near Lancing Sailing Club (between Beach Green, Lancing, and Widewater). 
Southern Hawker Southern Hawker

The Southern Hawker, Aeshna cyanea, had caught a Small White Butterfly and flew around for about a minute until it chose the first place of rest on the temporary fencing erected by the sea defence contractors. Mandibles crunching away, it consumed its butterfly prey just like a hungry crab and after two minutes the prey had been eaten and the dragonfly flew northwards. Of course, the Southern Hawker could have just visited the beach area to prey on the numerous Small White Butterflies, with caterpillars that feed on the Sea Kale.
Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies

An immigrant Painted Lady Butterfly was resting nearby.

8 July 2004
Two Peregrine Falcons sparred over the top of the power station in Shoreham Harbour at 9:00 am on an overcast morning in a gap between the rain showers. They appeared from behind the chimney where the nestbox faces south and chased each other over the main power station building landing on the roof between their spars. 

Report by Peter Talbot-Elsden (Southwick)
Southwick Nature

5 July 2004

The Silver Ragwort flowers on Shoreham Beach as the shingle plants are now past the best display. 

16 June 2004
The blue of the Viper's Bugloss contrasted with the yellow of one of the Stonecrops, of which at least two species of Sedum are found on the beach shingle. 

5 June 2004
Venue: Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea
British Marine Life Study Society Seashore Aquarium exhibit (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)
Crowds of children around Katherine Hamblett's live crab pond dipping exhibit.

Adur was one of the leaders in the United Kingdom when it presented an Exhibition celebrating the official World Oceans Day. It was held in the large marquee on Coronation Green overlooking the River Adur.

David and Marion Wood brought along a living Starry Clover, Trifolium stellatum,  plant. This naturalised flower is now only known from Shoreham beach. 
Starry Clover showing the leaves

The most interesting discovery was a sea urchin fossil (base of the spines which have broken off) found on Shoreham beach and brought in by a young girl. This is illustrated on the right. 

I estimated the attendance on a sunny day (21.4° C) at 3,500 (estimates of attendances at other events have been overstated). 

1 June 2004
On the western side of the local Adur Council boundaries the Worthing Council has for years rigorously adopted a policy of weeding out any plants that had taken root on the shingle. Still, remarkably a few hardy colonisers had withstood the onslaught, including the straggly yellow plant in the photographs below. 

This yellow crucifer with beaked fruits, erect sepals, and clasping upper leaves, I'd 
suggest Wild Turnip, Brassica rapa

ID suggestion by Paul Kennett on the UK Botany Yahoo Group

31 May 2004
The perfume and flower colour is best on the shingle above the high tide mark during June. 
The blue of Viper's Bugloss contrasts nicely with red Common Poppies and Yellow-horned Poppies

Location: next to the beach huts south of Shoreham Beach Green

The small bank is an earth barrier to discourage travellers. And the common shingle plants are the first to colonise.

11 May 2004
A male Whinchat was singing in the fog from the Carrot's Cafe car park, by Shoreham Harbour Power Station (at Southwick) in the early morning rush hour.

5 May 2004
The high spring tides had pushed five Turnstones on to the ridge of shingle on Lancing Beach (near Brooklands) but they were even harder to distinguish than the Ringed Plovers in the same place on 21 April 2004. There were dozens of whelk balls (disused egg cases of the Common Whelk) on the strandline where the Turnstones dipped over the ridge to feed. One bird was actually observed turning over a pebble as befits its common name. 

1 May 2004
Three sleek birds of prey flew in under the mist on Southwick beach. These were a complete surprise and identified as immigrant Hobbies

Report by June Brown

22 April 2004
There was a considerable amount of bird activity on the shingle close to the beach huts near Shoreham Beach Green. I fastened my binoculars and tried to find the birds that were well camouflaged against the pebbles. The first birds seen were a handful of Wheatears very alert and upright. There was too much human disturbance and there were two groups of much smaller birds. The first turned out to be House Sparrows but the second group were more vocal and restless. One of the birds sang from the roof of one of the beach huts and then its red speckly breasts revealed these birds as Linnets

21 April 2004

The high spring tides had pushed the Ringed Plover on to the ridge of shingle on Lancing Beach (near Brooklands) but you will have to look carefully at the photograph above to spot the well camouflaged little bird. 

13 April 2004
A small greenish-brown bird made a short flight immediately in front of me as I cycled past Widewater. It was nestled down amongst the shingle and its camouflage was not all that successful. When it scrambled to action stations it looked exhausted. This bird was most likely an immigrant Chiffchaff, but it did not call.

5 April 2004
Battered by the blustery south-westerly  breeze, the clump of six-petalled white flowers in the "daffodil zone" on the grass verges of the beach shingle by the Church of Good Shepherd on Shoreham Beach were bent almost horizontal by the wind. Initially the plant was wrongly identified as the Star of Bethlehem, Ornithogalum umbellatum, probably a garden escape of a pretty plant that has been known in England since 1548. It is not usually thought of as a native plant but it has been naturalised for a long time and known in Sussex for two centuries. 

Spring Starflower

NB: These could be the introduced bluish-white variety of the garden plant known as the Spring Starflower, Ipheion uniflorum. C.A.Stace gives its name as Tristagma uniflorum
Discussion on UK Wildlife Yahoo Group

Lizard at Old Fort (Andy Horton)30 March 2004
Locally, they way be known as Wall Lizards because of their frequency of inhabiting old flint walls, and under the blue cloudless sky, over fifty (counted 38 avoiding duplicates and then estimated) lizards skittered up the extensive crumbling south and west facing flint walls of the Old Fort (Shoreham Beach) (TQ 234 046) with dexterity, very quickly (too quickly to photograph) after basking in the warmth of the morning sun.
There was one particularly large lizard and I would estimate its length (excluding its long tail) at 60 mm. Most were much smaller appearing about half the size at 40 mm. 
All these lizards would drop into the grass or hide in a crevice if disturbed. They were only to be found near tufts of grass. Although they skittered over the vertical walls with ease, they only occupied the lower flint levels. All the lizards seen had their full tails. 
Old Fort Photographs (More Lizard Images)

Photograph of a European Wall Lizard (from the Isle of Wight)
Common Lizard Photographs

  • 1. Wall Lizards have slightly larger heads and longer legs than Common Lizards
  • 2. They often have very thin bands with alternating black and white sections on their tails (like rings around the tail but only apparent down the sides of the tail, not all round)
  • 3. The Lizards in this colony seem to have come from Northern Italy and have the bright green backs of the sub-species found there.
  • 4. While Common Lizards prefer dense grassy or heathy habitat the Wall Lizard is strongly associated with dry stony habitat with a vertical component, and is often found basking high up on its wall (sometimes up on roof tops)
  • 5. Finally, the scales on the Wall Lizard are smaller than those on a Common Lizard giving a smoother skinned effect (I don't know how noticeable this is!)
Wall Lizard notes by Ralph Hollins
Ralph Hollins' Nature Notes

Postscript:  these lizards have now been definitely identified as the Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis.

Local Lizard Comparison Photographs

29 March 2004
A Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly with a reddish hue was my first of the year seen on the Childing Pink patch of Silver Sands, Shoreham Beach east. This is likely to be an immigrant and confirms my suspicion that the reddish hued specimens are either immigrants or old butterflies emerging from hibernation, or both. 
At least three Wheatears seemed to have just flown in by the Old Fort, near the western arm of Shoreham Harbour entrance at the far eastern end of Shoreham beach. These attractive birds were well camouflaged against the shingle but could be seen clearly through the binoculars when standing on posts and, of course, they were immediately recognisable by there white rear when they flew off.

Lizard at Old Fort (Photograph by Andy Horton)

At least two lizards in the grass by the Old Fort (TQ 234 046) seemed to have a slight greenish tinge to their head and underside, were very darkly patterned with black on brown, about 35 mm long (excluding the long tail) and a total length estimated at 90 mm. I had a close look without being conversant with the identifying features. I have always thought that these lizards were the Common (or Viviparous) Lizard, Zootoca vivipara. However, it seems at least superficially, they can match the photographs of the European Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis. The legs in the Old Fort specimens were speckled with black. However, these species look almost identical to each other to the inexperienced herpetologist.
"Wall Lizards have a straight collar, which distinguishes them from Sand and Viviparous Lizards which have collars with serrated edges."
Wall Lizards of Europe
Wall Lizard Photographs

Postscript:  these lizards have now been definitely identified as the Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis.

24 March 2004
There were four Turnstones on the rock (syenite) sea defences by Widewater Lagoon on the high spring tide, and at least three Great Crested Grebes swimming offshore

21 March 2004
Five green lizards were discovered on a wall on Shoreham Beach (not at Shoreham Old Fort). These have now been identified as the European Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis.

18 March 2004
On the ridge of the shingle by the beach huts a female Black Redstart stood out where I would expect to see a Ringed Plover. A pair of Ringed Plovers were together on gravel by the pipeline outlet into Widewater Lagoon with a feeding Little Egret. Another Little Egret stood statuesque like a Heron just to the west of the bridge over the lagoon, (where the gardens were up to World War II).

16 March 2004
11 Wheatears and 2 Black Redstarts (one a male) were seen on the shingle beach just west of Beach Green, Shoreham Beach between 4.15 - 4.45 pm.

Report by Richard Fairbank (Shoreham Beach) on the Sussex Birds Yahoo Group
BTO Migration Watch

12 March 2004
As the rain tipped down in the early evening (before the light faded) the Peregrine Falcon was perched on one of the ledges on the Shoreham Harbour Power Station chimney for a few minutes, 

Report by Peter Talbot-Elsden (Southwick)

2 March 2004
Slavonian Grebe, Podiceps auritus, was seen in summer plumage off the Church of the Good Shepherd on Shoreham Beach in the afternoon.

            Report by Stanley Allen on the Sussex Ornithological Society News
Slavonian Grebes have been reported before off Shoreham Beach. The Sussex Ornithological Society have this bird classified as a scarce Winter Visitor and Passage Migrant. This colourful grebe is one of the lesser known of the British birds, observed to visit estuaries and the shallow seas in severe weather when their home freshwater ponds are frozen. It feeds on fish. Over seventy pairs breed in Scotland. 

1 March 2004
The Peregrine Falcon has just landed on the Shoreham Harbour Power Station chimney, near the nest box, at 3:54 pm.

Report by Peter Talbot-Elsden (Southwick)
Southwick Nature 2004

11 February 2004
A Painted Lady Butterfly is seen flying at about 8 mph against a light breeze  (about 6 mph) from the north-west near Lancing Beach Green (by the Sailing Club where the path narrows between the green and Widewater Lagoon). This butterfly appears to be an immigrant, probably on the long journey from Africa, possibly from France. 
Other Reports of Painted Ladies (Adur Nature Notes: February 2004)
Strong evidence for Immigration of Painted Ladies

10 February 2004
Whilst observing a gull hanging in the air and finally settling on the undulating sea, a Sandwich Tern, Sterna sandvicensis, flew arrow-like a purposely over the shallow sea (at high tide) parallel with Southwick beach before disappearing out of view to the west. Terns are unusual in the winter months. 

3 February 2004
After the gales of the last few days, I walked the strandline on Southwick Beach in a temperature of 15.1° C but there was nothing remotely exceptional apart from a single dead and washed up Auk. However, in the winter months the offshore passage of Guillemots and Razorbills is high so an occasional washed up casualty is to be expected. Whelk egg balls were present and it would be surprising if they weren't and Dead Guillemotsome were probably blown even further inland. Dead shells include the usual Slipper Limpets, Mussels, Venerids, Oysters, Scallops with the occasional Limpet and Cuttlebone
BMLSS Molluscs
Oyster & the Slipper Limpet
BMLSS Beachcombing
BMLSS Sea Birds

28 January 2004
Two small flocks of sea birds of birds whirled low over the sea off Brooklands Boating Lake which was just beginning to show sand. The swiftly flying flocks numbered about 200 and they have seen before and not mentioned. They are almost certainly Sanderling which are seen over the sand at low tide and were recorded only five days earlier

23 January 2004
A flock of 200+ Sanderling were feeding on the sandy beach next to the sea off Brooklands Boating Lake. This area is noted for Sanderling, but this large number was exceptional.

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

Waves at Shoreham on 13 January 200413 January 2004
Turnstones are now a familiar sight on the shingle shores of Shoreham beach in the winter. Just one twittered as it flew past: the call is now recognisable through familiarity. 

3 January 2004
Six Purple Sandpipers were inside the west arm of Shoreham harbour entrance (on the Old Fort side) on a falling tide. If the tide is low these birds sometimes get on the square concrete platform just outside the base of the west arm. At high tide they sometimes roost on the wooden 'crash barriers' immediately opposite the blockhouse but again they were not there last time I looked at a high tide (and
are pretty distant then anyway). So on current experience I'd say try the wooden pier/west arm when tide is halfway in or out but don't expect to be lucky first time.
Full Message on Sussex Birds

Report by Richard Fairbank (Shoreham Beach) on the Sussex Birds Yahoo Group


Coastal Reports to 2003 (Link)

Intertidal 2004

EMail for Wildlife Reports

EMail Address for sending in wildlife reports from the lower Adur valley
Only a selection will be included and only reports with the name of the reporter

Chalk & Flint

About 85 million years ago Sussex was covered by a warm sea. Sedimentary deposits of coccoliths (microscopic plankton with a calcium carbonate shell) laid down the chalk which is the rock of the South Downs of south-east England. The flint probably formed from the dissolved remains of ancient sponge siliceous spicules and was deposited at a later date into gaps and beds in the chalk when the silica then solidified. When the friable chalk was eroded the flint remained, subsequently rounded into spherical and ovoid pebbles by the action of the waves grinding the pebbles against each other.
(simplified explanation for upper layers of chalk)

Chalk Facts

Fossil Sea Urchin Echinocorys scutatus
Fossil Bivalve  Spondylus spinosa (pic).

 Clouded Yellow *  Colias croceus
 Large White  Pieris brassicae
 Common Blue

Common Blue Butterfly (Photograph by Andy Horton)

 Polyommatus icarus
 Small White  Pieris rapae
 Small Tortoiseshell *  Aglais urticae
 Red Admiral *  Vanessa atalanta
 Painted Lady *  Vanessa cardui
 * Immigrants or hibernators  
 Whites caterpillars feed on  Sea Kale
 Blue caterpillars feed on  Bird's Foot Trefoil
Adur Valley Butterflies

    Childing Pink

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