Adur Marine Life Reports
Coastal & Intertidal     2014

 Reports from the sea, shore and coast, including Widewater Lagoon


Coastal saline lagoons and the Water Framework Directive (NECR039)

A number of coastal saline lagoons in the UK have been identified as ‘water bodies’ under the Water Framework Directive. This means that there is a requirement to develop type-based classification tools to help assess their ecological status. This study was commissioned by Natural England to inform future work of the UK Technical Advisory Group and Marine Task Team in developing a national consistent approach to the assessment of lagoons under the Water Framework Directive.

Web Page (pdf)

Link to information about World of Widewater (Community Friends Group)
Friends of Shoreham Beach
World of Widewater
(Community Group)
Friends of Shoreham Beach
(Community Group)

Widewater Lagoon Page


14 June 2014
Adur World Oceans Day
World Oceans Day was first declared as 8th June at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
Events occurred all around the world on and around this day.

Adur was one of the UK leaders in presenting the fifteenth environmental exhibition of World Oceans Day on Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea. The British Marine Life Study Society presented the usual exhibition of lobsters and crabs. The Friends of Shoreham Beach (FOSB) took an active role with their display of the wonders of Shoreham Beach. Wildlife writer Steve Savage presented the whale and dolphin exhibition. Nikki Hills on behalf of the Sussex Wildlife Trust produced an interactive display on the sea and seashore for the younger age group.  Exhibitors are available to find the time to answer questions about marine life.
Other participants will include Southwick Camera Club with an exhibition of seascapes and marine life, and Shoreham Sea Scouts.

World Oceans Day on facebook
Adur World Oceans Day on facebook
United Nations: World Oceans Day.



Coastal Reports 2015

12 December 2014
In the aftermath of the near gales, thousands of empty Undulate Ray, Raja undulata, egg cases (=Mermaid's Purses) were thrown ashore on the strandline of Shoreham and Lancing beaches. One typical egg case was measured in its dried out state at 65 x 50 mm (at its widest part), with the curved horns at up to 50 mm each (giving an overall length of 160 mm). A few Crows were picking on the strandline amongst the wracks and other seaweeds, mixed seashells (=molluscs) and the occasional lump of sea coal (Lignite).

Widewater Lagoon is often a good place to spot birds in the inclement weather, but the only birds of note were a handful of Little Grebes which spent most of the time diving under water, a flock of eight Red-breasted Mergansers, a raft of nine Teals, a few Coots, a dozen or so pet ducks of the Mallard-type with varied colours and patterns, three adult (one youngster from this year) Mute Swans, a avidly feeding Redshank on the fringes of the flooded lagoon, a Little Egret, a Cormorant, and scores of gulls dominated in numbers by Black-headed Gulls.


24 November 2014

Kestrel at Widewater
Photograph by Gary Levett

 A Kestrel was seen taking a bath at Widewater after a particularly bloody meal of a small Vole.

Report by Gary Levett
10 November 2014
After the gales there were hundreds of Ray egg cases washed ashore and blown further inland as as well as a smelly dead Undulate Ray.
4 November 2014
On a sunny late morning two Brent Geese were foraging on Widewater, a Redshank probed in the mud, and three Little Egrets, three Cormorants and four Little Grebes were all seen fishing in the shallow lagoon. 

28 October 2014

Teal, Shelduck, Black-headed Gull

A Shelduck, two Cormorants, four Teal, two Little Egrets and a handful Black-headed Gulls all congregated together on a small patch of dry land on a flooded Widewater Lagoon. On the shingle beach a flock of a dozen or more Turnstones were well camouflaged against the pebbles as the high tide rolled against the shore.

Little Egrets

14 October 2014
A flock of a about a dozen Brent Geese flew parallel with the shore just above the waves towards Worthing past Shoreham Ferry Road beach.

5 October 2014

Wall Lizard
?? Cat's Ear ??

On the southern carnot wall  of Shoreham Fort, two adult Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, skittered rapidly over the flint.

22 September 2014
With my larger mahogany shrimp net now repaired, this was its first outing on what would not normally not be a favourable time for shrimping. I chose Shoreham Beach (opposite Shoreham Beach Green) on a low spring tide of 1.1 metres in the late afternoon (5.00 pm) without too much optimism or enthusiasm as the sky became cloudy.

Sand Sole, Pegusa lascaris
 Lesser Weever

I caught about twenty Brown Shrimps, Crangon crangon, large enough not to fall through the net in half an hour, plus six small to large Sand Sole, Pegusa lascaris, one Lesser Weever, Echiichthys vipera, three small South-clawed Hermit Crabs, Diogenes pugilator, one Pennant's Swimming Crab, Portumnus latipes, and no other fish fry. One of the Sand Soles was estimated at 11 cm long and got itself caught twice after I returned the fish. This was so large I thought it could be a Dover sole, Solea solea,  and this is near its maximum size.

14 September 2014

 Rock Samphire
 Sea Kale
 Yellow-headed Poppy

A Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum, flew straight into the carnot wall on the south side of Shoreham Fort. It flew off before my camera could find it. I noted just one young Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis, skitting over the shingle near the flint walls in the early afternoon.

13 September 2014
On Saturday I saw several Small Copper Butterflies at Shoreham Beach. One interesting courting pair was observed where the male was following the female as they walked across the pebbles. Eventually I spotted another female at the base of a small Common Sorrel dock plant and realised she was egg laying. After a few minutes she departed and I had a look for the eggs. Crikey, talk about small. Like Brown Hairstreaks eggs they looked a bit like small white sea urchins. I checked some other plants nearby and found more eggs on leaf sheaths and leaf petioles. Fascinating September action.

Report by Richard Roebuck on Sussex Butterflies

10 September 2014

Rock Samphire

Vegetated Shingle, Shoreham Fort area

9 September 2014
A Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum, flew into the into the carnot wall on the south side of Shoreham Fort. It flew off before my camera could find it. I noted just one small Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis, on the southern flint wall in the early afternoon but the day was cloudy and breezy.

8 September 2014

Lesser Spotted Dogfish
A large ripple followed by a dark grey shape was a Common Seal underneath the Adur Ferry Bridge just after the low spring tide had turned. It did not surface so its identity was not confirmed but there was a commotion in the shallow water caused by a single animal.
On a warm September afternoon a rockpooling trip to Worthing Pier was distinguished by a Mermaid's Purse washed up against the pier supports, that contained a live shark (Lesser Spotted Dogfish) that was released from its purse and placed in a small aquarium.
Rockpooling Report

4 September 2014
Two Clouded Yellow Butterflies were seen fluttering over the flowery shingle above the high tide mark on separate occasions. Although still warm (> 21°C) with not much of a breeze, but there were still signs of change; a lone Swallow flew over Shoreham Beach in prelude to a long migration.

11 August 2014
In a Gale Force 7, three Hummingbird Hawk-moths, Macroglossum stellatarum, were blown over Shoreham Beach at the eastern end with a female Common Blue Butterfly. The Common Toad was no longer present.

5 August 2014

Common Goby (small)
Rock Goby (medium)
Nymphon"Sea Spider" (=Pycnogonid)

Seventy five young rockpoolers descended on to the Shoreham Fort outer River Adur estuary beach for the annual Friends of Shoreham Beach Rockpooling Day and scooped up the usual prawns and crabs into temporary aquaria provided. Pride of place of discovery went to an adult Rock Goby, Gobius paganellus, and a scarce miniature pycnogonid or sea spider to be identified. It was one of the slender Nymphonidae species that does not appear to have a body of any consequence. It might be one of the two Nymphon species found in British seas. A few Beadlet Anemones, Actinia equina, were uncovered.

Pea Crab Pinnotheres
Rock Goby
Common Goby
Rock Goby

Other notable captures included one young Rock Goby and some adult but small Common Gobies, Pomatoschistus microps, with a sandy coloured body to match the mud and sand shallow pools from where they were captured as the tide receded. But even the Common Gobieslooked huge in comparison to the sea spider.
A Common Toad was discovered under a boulder near Shoreham Fort.

20 July 2014

 Hare's Foot Clover
Childing Pink
Childing Pink

Almost all the day was sunny with clouds, overcast at times, and very humid, with just enough breeze to sway the more fragile plants like the Childing Pink, Petrorhagia nanteuilii, at Silver Sands, Shoreham Beach.
Adur Wild Flowers 2014

2 July 2014
A Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum, flew straight into the carnot wall on the south side of Shoreham Fort. It flew off before my camera could find it. I noted just two Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, on the flint walls in the early afternoon and the large one had typically lost part of its tail.

Wall Lizard
Hare's Foot  Clover 
Childing Pink
Childing Pink

Childing Pink was flowering by Silver Sands but the double flowers had not yet appeared in full. There were over a hundred plants.
Adur Moths

1 July 2014

 Hare's Foot

Shoreham Beach

27 June 2014

Silver Ragwort
Red Valerian
 Mute Swan

There was just one Mute Swan cygnet with two adults on Widewater. 3-spined Sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus, were very noticeable darting between the Cladophora clumps of algae in the clear parts of the lagoon. The shingle beach at Shoreham was resplendent with the flowering Red Valerian, Silver Ragwort and Viper's Bugloss. Occasional Large White Butterflies fluttered around the Sea Kale on Shoreham Beach.

7 June 2014
A male Common Blue Butterfly was spotted south of the carnot wall of Shoreham Fort, but it was the unexpected appearance of an early immigrant Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum, flying just in front of my feet that was most unexpected. I don't think I have seen one so early in the year before.
Adur Moths

Little Egret
Common Blue Butterfly

A Little Egret stalked the rock pools at low tide, feeding avidly on small fish (larger than a stickleback though) at a rate of about six a minute, until prompted to take flight at the sound of gunfire.

NB. Mentions of Scentless Mayweed may actually be Sea Mayweed on these pages.

4 June 2014
A single Peregrine Falcon perched on a ledge on the Shoreham Harbour Power Station chimney on a ledge where the nest box used to be.
It was a low neap tide and just about suitable for a brief morning spell of shrimping (using Peter Talbot-Elsden's second smaller shrimp net) in the light rain at Southwick. There were hundreds of Brown Shrimps, Crangon crangon, including at least half of very small ones that were probably hatched this year, about a dozen  Pennant's Swimming Crabs (the little speckled ones) Portumnus latipes, two South-clawed Hermit Crabs, Diogenes pugilator,  two very small Lesser Weevers, Echiichthys vipera, an almost white Shore Crab Carcinus meanas, a small Sand Sole, Pegusa lascaris, and dozen small flatfish fry.

 Yellow-horned Poppy
Kidney Vetch 
 Silver Ragwort
Rock Samphire

The narrow strip above the high tide mark near Carat's Cafe at Southwick hosts vegetated shingle plants, notably Rock Samphire, Sea Campion, Sea Thrift, Tree Mallow, Biting Stonecrop, Yellow-horned Poppy, Sea Kale, Silver Ragwort, Greater Bird's Foot Trefoil and Kidney Vetch.

1 June 2014

Flowers on Shoreham Beach were blossoming in the sunshine for the annual Friends of Shoreham Beach Wild Flower Walk. A pair of Ringed Plovers seem to be nesting or attempting to protect eggs laid on the shingle beach to the west of Shoreham Fort.
On the southern carnot wall of Shoreham Fort, two adult Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, skittered rapidly into large holes. There were another three adults and a brown juvenile on the walls of gardens backing on to the shingle beach.
Rough Clover
Trifolium scabrum 
Psilothrix viridicoerulea

After examining a Charlock flowering on Shoreham Beach (on the east verge of the Shoreham Fort car park) I discovered a small green beetle on a Charlock leaf. Although at a distance it looked like a common beetle, a poor quality photograph revealed it to be a almost certainly a beetle from the genus Psilothrix, possibly Psilothrix viridicoerulea, the latter species often common on sand dune beaches on the English Channel coast.
Adur Daisies

29 May 2014

 Viper's Bugloss
 Seaside Aster 
Erigeron glaucus
Seaside Aster 
Erigeron glaucus
Red Valerian

Late May 2014

 Red Hot Poker
Kniphofia uvaria
 Sea Thrift
Slender Thistle
 Silver Ragwort

Shoreham Beach

21 May 2014
A shrimping expedition went completely wrong: my ancient net broke almost immediately. "The shrimp net was ancient, used to belong to Charlie Woolgar, mussel, sandhopper and shrimp collector for Regents Park London Zoo Aquarium. When Chas retired the late John Barker took over the role and most of his kit. Charlie Woolgar used to live in West Street, Shoreham. I remember had a brass lobster for a door knocker. He has been dead for decades." (Steve Barker)

19 May 2014
Shoreham Beach was in bloom. Of most notice were the large amounts of Red Valerian, flowering Sea Kale, clumps of Sea Campion, swathes of Sea Thrift and the Tree Mallow as I cycled past.

 Red Valerian
 Sea Kale
 Velvet Swimming Crab
Grey Topshell & Chiton

An early morning rockpooling expedition to the beach underneath Worthing Pier was not distinguished by anything more than the ordinary and not very productive as a biological collection for Adur World Oceans Day 2014 Velvet Swimming Crabs, Necora puber, were moulting under rocks and both empty shells (exoskeleton) and live crabs were discovered. A sub-adult Butterfish, Pholis gunnellus, hid underneath a rock.
Rockpooling Report

15 May 2014
At low tide on Kingston Beach the churned up water was loaded with silt and contained thousands of the miniature Sea Gooseberries, Pleurobrachia bachei, that appeared as globular transparent blobs in the prawn net. Near the Chart Datum tide marker, I caught scores of smallish prawns Palaemon elegans in the shallow sea, with two young Bullheads, Taurulus bubalis, two young Blennies, Lipophrys pholis, and an adult, and two first year Corkwing Wrasse, Symphodus melops.
BMLSS Prawns & Shrimps

3 April 2014

 Spring Starflower
 Ivy-leaved Speedwell

Shoreham Beach

1 April 2014
About ten Little Grebes could be seen on the surface of Widewater Lagoon. They were in the centre of the lagoon and were not seen diving. They were far enough away to be unsure of their identification at first.
 Sea Beet
 Lesser Celandine

Widewater Flood Plain

I spotted my first Large White Butterfly of the year over Shoreham Beach

10 March 2014

One of a pair of Teals on Brooklands Boating Lake
with Moorhens, Coots and Mallards numerous on the lagoon

7 March 2014

Harbour Porpoise
Photograph by Louisa De-Ville on facebook

A Harbour Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena, was washed ashore dead on Kingston Beach at the entrance to Shoreham Harbour.

Report by Louisa De-Ville on facebook
BMLSS Cetaceans
Whales & Porpoises in British Seas
Difference between a Dolphin and a Porpoise (Link)

6 March 2014

The pier where the two Purple Sandpipers were spotted

In finally managed a positive sighting of two Purple Sandpipers on the metal parts of the southern wooden arm near Shoreham Fort. I positively identified the specks in the distance through a scope and they were clearly different from three Turnstones by their pale yellow legs and different bills. The Purple Sandpiper breast is mottled whereas in the Turnstone it is plain white. It was a high spring tide of 6.0 metres but it seemed higher with waves splashing gently over the pier.

Black-headed Gull
Wall Lizard

I heard that a Peacock Butterfly was also seen in the weak sunshine. On the southern carnot wall I spotted my first reptiles of the year with six Wall Lizards,Podarcis muralis, basking in or near the holes in the flintwork. Wall Lizards lay eggs and are nor viviparouslike the Common Lizard Lacerta vivipara.

23 February 2014

Mediterranean Gull
Little Gull

Slavonian Grebe
Photographs by Jan-Paul Charteris on facebook

After the storms had died down, two scarce visitors like the Mediterranean Gull and the Little Gull were notable sightings at Brooklands Boating Lake, east Worthing. The Slavonian Grebe was a more distinctive discovery. This bird was a scarce winter visitor and passage migrant to Sussex and was seen on the Southwick canal part of Shoreham Harbour.

Report by Jan-Paul Charteris on facebook

20 February 2014

More Goose Barnacles, Lepas anatifera, were discovered washed ashore on Shoreham Beach.

Report & Photographs by Carl Stearman on  facebook
7 & 18 February 2014
Mermaid's Purses, Cuttlebones, and Whelk egg cases on Lignite
Common Starfish
Whelk Egg Case
Carrion Crow

The strandline was littered with marine debris after the recent storms.

13 February 2014

A dead Lumpsucker, Cyclopterus lumpus, was discovered washed up on Lancing Beach.

Report & Photograph by Ray Hamblett
on Wildlife of Lancing, Sompting & Surrounds facebook

10 February 2014

Hundreds of very small Goose Barnacles, Lepas anatifera, were discovered on a fish box on Shoreham Beach.
BMLSS Barnacles
I only saw one sawbill duck on Widewater. It was a Goosander as confirmed by the photograph and not the more familiar Red-breasted Merganser.This is my first confirmed sighting of a Goosander locally, although I expect I have overlooked them before. This was an immature first winter male and not a female. 
Gender ID by Jan-Paul Charteris

29 January 2014

A male Red-breasted Merganser in a flap on Widewater Lagoon.
Photographs by Gary Levett on Wildlife of Lancing, Sompting & Surrounds  facebook & flickr

21 January 2014
At least two Little Grebes could be seen diving underwater on Widewater Lagoon. The water was so still that the birds passage under water could be just about seen from the cyclepath. However, this did not enable good photography because of the poor light and reflections in the water from the homes. There were at least two Coots swimming on the lagoon. 

10 -11 January 2014

Glaucous Gull, Larus hyperboreus, flying at Shoreham Beach East
Photograph by Jan-Paul Charteris on flickr

Glaucous Gull scavenging a Dogfish on Shoreham Beach East
Photograph by John Stanton on flickr

A Glaucous Gull visited the Shoreham Harbour entrance seen on the Shoreham Fort and Southwick Beach side at different times. This large gullis a very scarce winter visitor from the Arctic.

Various Reports including the
Sussex Ornithological Society News

7 January 2014
There were six Red-breasted Mergansers floated on the surface of a flooded Widewater Lagoon. There were two colourful drakes and four brown hens as far as I could see from the cyclepath.
Image by John Stanton (Link)
6 January 2014
Waves at high tide pounded Southwick Beach and occasionally crashed over the promenade. A few hundred gulls congregated over the sea immediately to the south of Carat's Cafe. They were mostly Herring Gulls, but also Common Gulls, Black-headed Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, and Greater Black-backed Gulls. The roar of waves was loud enough to exceed any noise that the gulls made.

3 January 2014
I was right in the middle of the new Adur Ferry Bridge when the the low flying clouds in mid-afternoon were illuminated by a flash of lightning followed immediately by one tremendous clap of thunder and a second clap a few seconds later. I was nearly blown from my bicycle by a gust of wind and battered by hailstones. Out at sea it was rough, the waves were foaming with white caps like just about a steady Gale Force 7 from the south-west, blowing diagonally on to the shore. Grey clouds reached down to the sea and the swirling gust conditions looked and it felt like a squall (or mini-tornado) might form. The Shoreham Beach Weather Station figures corresponded to my observations recording a steady wind speed of 34 mph (Force 7) gusting to 62 mph (Force 10). An earlier gust of 66.8 mph (Force 11) was recorded.

River Adur at Star Gap
Photograph by Mark Bond
Photograph by Fox Geere

Between midday and 1:00 am, the high spring tide of 6.7 metres plus a storm surge of 0.4 metres was a possible flood risk that did not materialise, although the wind assisted waves in the River Adur estuary splashed on to Coronation Green, in Shoreham.

Kingston Buci Beach (Shoreham)
Lancing Beach

Sussex Ornithological Society News

Coastal Reports 2013

Adur Weather 2014

Adur World Oceans Day 2012

Shoreham Fort Plants

Marine Life Reports 2010

Widewater Page

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2011 web pagesLink to the Adur 2012 Nature Notes pages

World of Widewater
(Community Group)

href="LancingBeach2008.htm">Lancing Beach
Sussex Ornithological Society News

Coastal Reports 2013

Adur Weather 2014

Adur World Oceans Day 2012

Shoreham Fort Plants

Marine Life Reports 2010

Widewater Page

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2011 web pagesLink to the Adur 2012 Nature Notes pages

World of Widewater
(Community Group)