Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2004 Index page

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Adur Valley Wildlife

River Adur Estuary
Tidal Reaches

Estuary opposite New Shoreham town

    The mud flats are a roosting site for gulls and waders, especially in the colder months.

    The mud flats (TQ 208 056) including the RSPB Reserve has been notified from 1987 as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) under Section 29 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.

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    Adur Estuary Wildlife Reports 2005


20 October 2004
Eighteen Mallards were on the mud flats underneath the footbridge.

17 October 2004
River Adur at High Tide

Early evening view from the Norfolk Bridge towards the Footbridge

14 October 2004
As a high spring tide filled up the River Adur estuary around midday, a few hundred Lapwings rested on the green grass of Shoreham Airport.

30 September 2004
Little Egrets are frequently seen simultaneously all over the lower Adur estuary, typically one or more near Kingston Beach, one or more on Widewater, at least one near the footbridge, on the mudflats on the houseboats side), more than one, often up to three on the river between the Railway Viaduct and the Toll Bridge, and invariably at least one north of Old Shoreham Toll Bridge. In the second half of September, just about every time, I have passed the estuary the Little Egret has been seen clearly and almost immediately. 

22 September 2004
There were two Grey Herons, four or five Little Egrets and at least eight Cormorants between Cuckoo's Corner and the Railway Viaduct on the Adur estuary at mid-tide, all except the two Little Egrets and one of the Grey Herons in the stretch of the river opposite Shoreham Airport

19 September 2004
Wheatear (Photograph by Andy Horton)A lone Wheatear flew around Adur Riverbank Industrial Estate (north of the railway line, north of Ropetackle) and later landed on the concrete slabs and rocks in the River Adur as the high tide receded a bit. It must be about to embark on its long migration south to Africa. 
One Little Egret appeared to try and get amorous with another Little Egret on the bank of the River Adur at high tide south-east Old Shoreham Toll Bridge, but it flew off, rejected.

8 September 2004
It seemed incongruous to me to see a score or more Great Black-backed Gulls at low tide in the sunshine just north the Railway Viaduct; these are mostly winter residents on the Adur. There were at least three Little Egrets between the two bridges, one of them feeding very energetically. . 

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

Report and Photograph by Brenda Collins

Mute Swan and Little Egret (Photograph 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.

25 July 2004
The annual influx of waders to the River Adur estuary begins, some birds will remain for the winter: at least 22 Little Egrets were seen between Widewater and the Cement Works, and 120 waders of eight species: 42 Redshanks, 40 Lapwings, 15 Dunlin, 8 Ringed Plovers, 5 Whimbrel, 5 Common Sandpipers, 4 Turnstones and an Oystercatcher.

Report by Keith Noble on Sussex Ornithological News

21 July 2004
There were 61 Mute Swans (including 3 cygnets) on the estuary from the Cement Works to Botolphs. The usual company of over twenty Mute Swans and one Australian Black Swan were by Old Shoreham Toll Bridge. At least one Little Egret was at both locations fishing in the mud on a high neap tide. 

17 July 2004

Swans on a dull overcast and thundery day, on the Adur opposite the Airport

9 July 2004

The attractive pink flowers are from an alien invader called Broad-leaved Everlasting-pea, Lathyrus latifolius

Around midday at low tide just south-east of the Toll Bridge, two Rabbits were feeding in the Glasswort zone below the Sea Purslane, so it was a long run back to shelter for them. 

Photograph by Peter Baxter using a Pentax Digibino

4 July 2004
There was one Australian Black Swan with over twenty Mute Swans on the river between the Railway Viaduct and the Toll Bridge.

3 July 2004
There was an Australian Black Swan in the mouth of the River Adur estuary. 
Report and Photograph by Peter Baxter (Southwick)

29 June 2004
I was unable to get an accurate count, but I would estimate that the number of Mute Swans at Upper Beeding near the Cement Works exceeded my previous highest count of 57. Simultaneously 24 Mute Swans congregated at low tide between the the Railway Viaduct and the Toll Bridge. I had also previously recorded 67 Mute Swans and one Australian Black Swan south of Old Shoreham Toll Bridge last year. 

25 June 2004
In the late afternoon a Grey Heron flew majestically over the Toll Bridge. 

21 June 2004
A male Kestrel was hovering over the grass bank of the River Adur by the Adur Metal Works small industrial estate (north of Ropetackle) and suddenly it dived down for prey amongst rock and seaweed on the fringes of the estuary as it receded. Was it after an insect or a small crab?

12 June 2004
A Mute Swan with eight cygnets were seen from Coronation Green at low tide in the rivulet between the mud banks on either side. A Pied Wagtail was also noted as a resident summer bird on and around Coronation Green. 

4 June 2004
The first green shoots of Glasswort, Salicornia, appeared above the River Adur mud by Coronation Green (by the footbridge in the centre of Shoreham), the first time that this flowering plant has been seen there although it has colonised the mud banks on the southern side of the river. This was first pointed out to me by Melanie Blunden.

May 2004
A bloom of plankton, probably Phaeocystis pouchetti, has turned the River Adur almost orange and considerably reduced visibility in the enriched sea. The colonies of this flagellate organism Phaeocystis can be seen in the water at over 1 mm long and plankton will be continuous for miles of sea water. The sea is then by various local terms like Slobweed or Baccy Water because of its appearance. When the plankton dies it can create hypoxic conditions and generally the inshore fauna is diminished in quantity and variety. 

12 May 2004
A Grey Heron was stalking the shallows at high tide just south of the Toll Bridge in the late afternoon. 

15 April 2004
Three Whimbrels are seen on the River Adur near the Toll Bridge.

Whimbrel Report 2003

30 March 2004
About 40 Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies settled on the bare chalk south-west of the Toll Bridge and these butterflies had an appearance with a tendency towards redness in colour. One pair danced around each other and flew over to the airport side of the river, covering the 100 metres width of the estuary (at low tide) in a few seconds. 
Adur Levels 2004

24 March 2004
On a high spring tide south-west of the Toll Bridge, a pair of Oystercatchers engaged in perfunctory mating, the male mounting the female, on the small area of dry land remaining. There was no preliminary courtship. 

22 March 2004
The Lapwings have flown from the lower Adur estuary and are now looking for breeding areas further inland, e.g. in the lowland fields near Shermanbury, where some breeding areas are disturbed by grazing cattle. 

Report by Allen Pollard
Upper Adur East (Shermanbury area) Nature Pages

19-20 March 2004
The changeable nature of the local weather is noticeable with Fresh Gale Force 8 winds from the SSW, gusting to Force 9 and rain. 

17 March 2004
Rising up from the shelter of the Sea Purslane on the Adur tidal flats, the heavily pigmented Meadow Pipits put on a musical and visual display for their mates, the small brown bird flying up to a height of about seven metres in their usual manner. 
On the mud flats, the usual gulls and other birds of two days ago were present with a one in a thousand Mediterranean Gull, Larus melanocephalus,  distinguished by the experienced birdwatcher and pointed out to me through the telescope by Stanley Allen (Shoreham District Ornithological Society). It is the white tail feathers (complete absence of black on the tail area) that is the distinguishing feature when compared to a Black-headed Gull.
Although almost all the regular birds were present there were no sign of the Little Egret, and the Lapwings were absent (presumably flown off to their breeding areas) and we had a good look but could not see the Ruffs reported from the estuary in the last two days. 
By mid-afternoon, the river was shrouded in mist and the mud flats were invisible.
At midday, an Oystercatcher was on the mussel bed underneath the Footbridge.

16 March 2004
It was a really bright day with the air temperature rising to 15.2 ºC and a clear blue sky. Just south of the Toll Bridge a couple of Great Black-backed Gulls were feeding on the remains of a flatfish: it is rare that I see this bird feed,  compared to the other gulls that will readily scavenge on almost anything. 
The count of Common Gulls was 450           Gull Count by Stanley Allen.

15 March 2004
Hundreds of gulls were resting on the mud between the Railway Viaduct and the Toll Bridge. as would be expected, just after the lowest point of the neap tide. In order of prevalence the gulls were as follows: Common Gulls, Black-headed Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls, Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Waders were represented by Dunlins, Ringed Plovers, Redshanks and Grey Plovers. A solitary Brent Goose was immediately picked by its size at the water's edge, and there were a handful of Cormorants, some perched, at least two fanning their wings. The Little Egret was missing. There were 20+ Mute Swans and an occasional Crow on the exposed mud flats. I did not note any Mallards, but they have been regulars on the Adur in the preceding few days. I did not see any Lapwings.
Christian Melgar's Report on the same day (Link)
The reddish-brown neck of the Little Grebe (Dabchick), Tachybaptus ruficollis, was particularly clear on the one bird repeatedly diving underneath the Footbridge on a low neap tide (2.47 metres, two hours before low) at 10:00 am. This red neck is meant to be the summer plumage.

11 February 2004
31 Grey Plovers on the water's edge at mid-tide between the Railway Viaduct and the Toll Bridge is the largest number of this wader I have recorded there. Redshanks were numerous as well, a dozen or so. A Little Grebe (Dabchick) was fishing underneath the Footbridge.

10 February 2004
A Little Grebe (Dabchick) was ducking and diving on a flooded River Adur between the Railway Viaduct and the Toll Bridge. For the few minutes spell in which I watched, it spent 90% of the time under the water and it would appear again several metres from the spot from which it dived. This small bird appears to be a winter visitor only.

8 February 2004
Three Little Grebes (Dabchicks) were seen in the river underneath the Footbridge from Shoreham Beach to Shoreham town in the morning when the tide was low. Three Purple Sandpipers perched on the base of the wooden pier at the Shoreham harbour entrance (west side). 

7 February 2004
A single House Martin was seen flying low up the River Adur this afternoon at 3:00 pm just south of the Toll Bridge for five minutes or so before heading up the Adur Valley. This is an extraordinary early record for this summer migrant. 

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

1 January 2004
The large mud flat at low tide between the Railway Viaduct and the Toll Bridge was imbued with scores of black birds, at least fifty Greater-backed Gulls, at least a dozen Cormorants, one Carrion Crow, with Herring Gulls and probably some Common Gulls as well. This is usual for the colder months of the year. The Lapwings must have been feeding elsewhere and there same applied to the Grey Herons and Little Egrets. All the other usual regulars were present: Black-headed Gulls, Redshanks, Grey Plovers (at least 13), Ringed Plovers, Dunlins, Mute Swans, Mallards, etc.

Wildlife Reports up to 2003
Adur estuary adjacent to the airport

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    EMail Address for sending in wildlife reports from the lower Adur valley
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