Adur Levels 2009
Garlic Mustard was in flower on the roadside opposite Cuckoo's Corner and verges in the area. On the earth bank at Cuckoo's Corner, Green Alkanet was growing in profusion.
Chaffinches and a Blue Tit were spotted in passing.
Bluebells and Star of Bethlehem, Ornithogalum umbellatum, were seen in flower on the verges of the Coombes Road south of Cuckoo's Corner. (I should have double-checked these were not Allium, but the road was too busy.)
Immediately, on entering the car parking area from the towpath, I noticed scores of small birds flying into the denser trees from the outlying bushes. These were mostly Chaffinches.
Bounding through the green arable field north of Cuckoo's Corner (on the Coombes road north of Shoreham Airport), a buck Roe Deer, Capreolus capreolus, was very frisky and I would have a good view if the road was not bordered by trees. I could see clearly enough to notice its antlers. I went through the gate to get a better view but the deer had disappeared from sight.
There were notable numbers of mixed brightly coloured Chaffinches and Goldfinches numbering over fifty in a few minutes at Cuckoo's Corner.
Adur Levels 2008
A Grey Heron took flight from the wide part of drainage ditch/stream in the south-east of the arable field immediately south of Cuckoo's Corner. There were usual frequent small birds around the trees and bushes at Cuckoo's Corner. I noted Chaffinches of both sexes and Blue Tits as I passed.
There was a possible Kingfisher hiding (it flew out briefly) in the mud bank in Ladywells' Stream as seen from Cuckoo's Corner. I think (from later observations) it was just as likely to be a Chaffinch.
The picture on the right is of an Elm Tree by the side of the road north of Ladywells. These diseased trees reproduce by suckers.
There was a solitary Mute Swan preening in a field north of Cuckoo's Corner.
A Yellowhammer was spotted north of Cuckoo's Corner.
Greater Burdock was beginning to flower on the verges of the Coombes Road by the Ladywells Stream.
House Martins swooped over the stubble of the Oil Seed Rape field.
This was what the Oil Seed Rape crop looks like after the flowering. It is the seeds that provide the oil.
There is another crop called Fodder Rape and a wild plant called Charlock that resembles Oil Seed Rape.
On an overcast middle of the day, a pristine Red Admiral Butterfly left the towpath just before Cuckoo's Corner when arriving from the south. Directly north of Cuckoo's Corner on the path that runs by the drainage ditch there were a few Large White Butterflies and two good condition Small Tortoiseshells seen and there may have been more as conditions were not very good for butterflies. I was surprised to see a Musk Thistle growing on the edge of the field. Lastly in the field south of the junction to Applesham Farm a Marbled White Butterfly was seen with its wings closed on a Spear Thistle flower.
Several noisy Reed Buntings were heard and seen perching on reeds along the same stream as two days earlier. They occasionally flew up just like a Meadow Pipit, which was a bit confusing as I think there were Meadow Pipits around as well. A Harlequin Ladybird, Harmonia axyridis succinea, was spotted next to the stream, and a small hoverfly landed on an Annual Wall Rocket growing from the dried out earth on the edge of the field. This was my first Scaeva pyrastri of the year.
A Reed Bunting, alongside the drainage ditch between the two fields (one of Broad Beans and the other of flowering Oil Seed Rape) directly north of Cuckoo's Corner, was making such a racket with its varied calls that I went to investigate to see it flying between the thin reed stems. Then I saw my first two dragonflies of the year, one a dark blue and the other a familiar blue and green of what appeared to be a Southern Hawker. Aeshna cyanea. However, David Kitching on UK Dragonflies (Yahoo Group) thinks it was much likely to be a Hairy Dragonfly, Brachytron pratense, and after thinking about the two dragonflies seen (smaller than the familiar Southern Hawker) I feel that this is the correct identification. This is indicated by the early flight time as well. This is the most reliable record of the Hairy Dragonfly on these Nature Notes web pages.
Cheshire Damsels and Dragonflies 2007
something shrieked just the once from along the edge of the stream, and
I thought of a hidden Water Rail, but I now think this was unlikely. Butterflies
were mostly Green-veined Whites,
a few Large Whites
with at least one Peacock Butterfly.
My first hoverfly Helophilus
pendulus of the year was seen
at Cuckoo's Corner.
were a few Holly Blue Butterflies,
a Large White
that settled long enough to be confirmed, and my first confirmed Green-veined
White Butterfly of 2007.
I would have not stayed around but for a white that I waited over five
minutes for it to settle on a Garlic Mustard
long enough to make sure it was a Green-veined White (not
a female Orange Tip).
There was a few of these whites around and including at Ladywells
about 60 metres further nort. At Ladywells, there was at least half a dozen
At Ladywells I spotted a few more Holly Blues,
one Red Admiral
and one Small Tortoiseshell.
On the verge by Ladywells (60 metres north of Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes
Road) I saw my first Red Campion
in flower this year with the female of
the plant which I could not identify immediately.
There was also and my first Bristly Ox-tongue,
echioides, of the year, and a shrub called
the Greater Celandine
that I did not recognise at Cuckoo's Corner.
My surmise is that the non-native Greater Celandine was actually planted on the bank, mostly covered in Green Alkanet, by the car park, rather than actually escaped from a garden.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Wild Flower Addenda
The Small Tortoiseshell on the towpath SE of Cuckoo's Corner was in very good condition, unlike the Comma near the gate to the Oil Seed Rape field which battered and torn. However, another Comma Butterfly was fluttering around on Stinging Nettles in the Ricardo Test Field and I have never seen such a brightly copper-coloured Comma before. This colour was a trick of the bright sunlight. The photograph revealed it to no more brightly coloured than usual.
My first immigrant Wheatear was spotted on the towpath approaches to the south of Cuckoo's Corner. Although unmistakably a Wheatear, this bird seemed to have more black than usual noticed in the white tail region.
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, 60 metres or so north of the Garlic Mustard flowering just north of Cuckoo's Corner. My first Brimstone Butterfly was seen fluttering across Dolphin Road, Shoreham, near the railway crossing gates and about half a dozen were seen during the day. Over the Oil Seed Rape field north of Cuckoo's Corner, two Small White Butterflies were seen as well as two of the three Peacock Butterflies seen over the Adur Levels on the sunny day.
My first immigrant Wheatear was seen near Cuckoo's Corner. A pair of brightly coloured Chaffinches were seen quickly in the bushes around Cuckoo's Corner.
Shoals of 3-spined Sticklebacks were seen in the stream next to the Oil Seed Rape field.
There was a noticeable amount of small bird life around Cuckoo's Corner, on the Coombes Road, where small flocks of Chaffinches, mixed Blue Tits and Great Tits and one Great Spotted Woodpecker were spotted. The birds were shyer than garden birds even though peanuts and a fatball had been provided and were being visited by the tits. On the mud of the estuary a Redshank probed and a Robinwas spotted nearby.
On the wildlife road verge near Ladywell's to the north of Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes Road, I spotted a yellow buttercup-like flower which turned out as expected to be my first Lesser Celandine flower of the year.
A colourful male Pheasant was seen near Cuckoo's Corner. And some small mushrooms.
were a few (at least three seen) ladybirds
in rapid flight and they looked orange to me, but they could have been
red. Wild Basil
and Field Speedwell were
seen in flower or the field edges with Groundsel
was in in berry on the bush on the Lancing College side of the road
by Cuckoo's Corner. At least two Red Admiral
Butterflies fluttered over in the ten
minutes I walked slowly around. A Clouded
Yellow Butterfly fluttered over the towpath.
Adur Butterfly List 2006
A larva of the Harlequin Ladybird is seen near Cuckoo's Corner on the Adur Levels.
On an overcast day, a handful of Nuthatches dived amongst the trees over the stream near Cuckoo's Corner.
My first Cuckoo of the year was heard near Cuckoo's Corner.
9 January 2006
Four Roe Deer were grazing in the middle of the arable field immediately to the north of Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes Road on the west side of the River Adur. Four deer are the most I have seen together. They looked like adults and all lacked antlers. The deer were out in the open at least 150 metres (estimated) away. The photograph below is rather poor quality because it was also a murky day. After the deer, I also saw my first Grey Squirrel of the year at the base of a tree by Cuckoo's Corner.
the rotten Elm north of Ladydell's, north of Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes
Road, there were orange fungi growing on the dying trees. These were Velvet
Shank and there was at least one Jew's
Ear. There was also a small clump of Honey
Adur Levels 2006
The vegetation in the stream to the north has been cut back. A pair of Southern Hawker Dragonflies were hawking about rapidly. On the towpath to Cuckoo's Corner there were a handful of the red Common Darters.
A Comma Butterfly was seen just inside the gate to the north of the car park. A handful of Gatekeepers fluttered around the bushes, with a Green-veined White (confirmed), Large Whites and a handful of Small/Essex Skippers and Meadow Browns.
There was a fresh orangey Comma Butterfly and a Meadow Brown Butterfly just inside the gate to the north of the car park.
Adur Butterfly List 2005
A score and perhaps many more Swallows flew over the fields to the north of Cuckoo's Corner.
Honesty, Green Alkanet, Forget-me-nots and Dandelions were in flower on the new bank bordering Cuckoo's Corner car park and the road.
A bird alighted half way up (at a height of about 3 metres) a narrow tree trunk at Cuckoo's Corner. I had a glimpse of it for a second before it ran around the trunk to a blind spot from my viewpoint. I noticed that its upper wing feathers were a slate grey-blue colour. My original thought was a Treecreeper, a bird I not seen on the Coombes Road for a decade or more. However, the colour hue really indicates a Nuthatch, a bird of which I am even less familiar with, not having seen one in the Shoreham area before. In the late afternoon, it was not as colourful as shown in the books.
the Ricardo Test Bed Field (unofficial private nature reserve opposite,
east of, the Sussex Pad and next to the Coombes Road, southern end) two
Deer were feeding in the open.
Adur Levels 2005
On the River Adur, the four ducks around the first bend north of the A27 Flyover, were four Pochards which are unusual on the tidal river; their maroon heads of the three males most distinctive. Further north on the bend of the main river by Cuckoo’s Corner, four Little Grebes, swam and dived in the flat calm water.
A pair of Mallards were on the flooded freshwater stream that ran parallel with the river south of Cuckoo’s Corner.
There were a pair of Wrens at Cuckoo’s Corner car park, at least a pair of Long-tailed Tits in the naked trees as the Coombes Road crossed Ladywell Stream. There was a screech and I wondered if this could be a Water Rail? The inevitable dozen or so Moorhens were on the lowland field behind the scout’s cabin. In the canopy on the southern approaches to Coombes, there were at least a dozen Rook's nests with their noisy inhabitants.
These lichens were all on the rickety fence posts. Yellow Xanthoria were on the trees and bushes.
Adur Lichens page
I saw my first bright yellow Brimstone Butterfly of the year at Cuckoo's Corner. It was very distinctive in flight, but when I looked around I could not find it again.
Quite the most magnificent bird I have ever seen in the Adur area, a pale fawnish-brown Barn Owl flew majestically in a straight line above the Ricardo test track opposite the Sussex Pad Hotel (at the southern end of the Coombes Road) and then veered into the cover of the trees. The bird flew at 4:45 pm GMT in bright sunshine so the view was far from fleeting. I was struck by the size of this bird as it appeared much bigger than expected, especially its head which was looking in my direction. (The book size says it is no bigger than a Kestrel.)
Moorhens seemed to more numerous than in previous years, a handful noted on the ploughed fields to the south-east of Cuckoo's Corner. For virtually the whole of this month there has been a score or more Moorhens in the private (Lancing College) field next to Ladywell Stream on the west side of the Coombes Road (see the photograph above).
Two pairs of Great Spotted Woodpeckers chased their partners around the tree tops opposite Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes road. They made a tremendous commotion as they performed their antics, with a rattling trill-like call that was repeated at regular intervals. At times it seemed if two males were competing over one female and at another time, it seemed that there were two separate pairs. This was the first time I had seen more than one of these woodpeckers at the same time. There woodpeckers chased each other up the tree trunks and flew from the larger branches to another tall tree seen amongst the bare branches until they were hidden amongst the ivy. There were a mixture of mature and decaying trees and this would seem a likely breeding area for these attractive birds.
There was a lot of bird song along the Coombes road, one call a very harsh single squeal that stood out amongst the melodies and clicking calls. I have no idea what bird can make such a noise?
Three white rumped deer were spotted in the fields overlooked by Lancing College and close to Ricardo's test strip (east of the Coombes road at its traffic lights junction with the A27) at around 10:00 am. Roe Deer are frequently seen around the Adur Levels and these fitted the book description.
The fungi are probably the remains of Velvet Shank
Lancing College Private Property
view from the east bank of the River Adur
1 January 2004
Clumps of Velvet Shank, Flammulina velutipes fungus were growing on at least three Elm trees to the north of Cuckoo's Corner.
This is a typical species of late autumn throughout the winter. It is a remarkable species since it has its own built in antifreeze and can go through frosts unfazed and resume dropping spores immediately afterwards. Indeed, its growth and spore production are stimulated by cold.
Fungi of Shoreham (with more images and information)
Adur Fungi: Fruiting Bodies (Monthly Guide)
Fungi of the British Isles (Yahoo Group)
Adur Nature Notes (January 2004)
Adur Levels 2004