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Adur Nature Notes 2004

January Wildlife Reports 













Reports by Andy Horton unless credited to other observers

Cuckoo's Corner

Cuckoo's Corner, outlet of Ladywell Stream,
view from the east bank of the River Adur

January 2004

31 January 2004
Gale Force winds (Force 7 and above) blew continuously throughout the daylight hours, occasionally falling to a Strong Breeze (Force 5) but also gusting to Storm Force 10 (61 mph) on a few occasions in the afternoon.

Weather Graph for January 2004

A hawk was silhouetted for a brief period in the branches of the Hawthorn (TQ 186 044) at the bottom of my south Lancing town garden. It looked like a Kestrel sheltering from the gales. 
Adur Valley Biodiversity Self-entry Database for Lancing (Link)
Lancing Nature Notes Index

29 January 2004 
A "skein" of dolphins were observed in the sea off Widewater Lagoon, Lancing, Sussex at 2:00 pm in the afternoon. This was an unusual event off the Sussex coast and most occasional observations have been in the summer months. Pods of dolphins have been seen off Selsey Bill, West Sussex in the last few days. "Skein" is the term used by the observer and I have not known this collective noun used before for dolphins. I have not heard in use for geese or ducks either.

A family of three Foxes were playing in the open field immediately to the north of the Waterworks House (and the wooded land that surrounded it) and could be seen from the ridge of Mill Hill.

Report by Jan Hamblett (Lancing Nature)
Mill Hill 2004

A Barn Owl flew in the early morning light (7:20 am) over New Monks Farm, Lancing,  near the Withy Patch layby.
NB: There have been several reports of this bird from different observers and it appears to be a regular at dawn and dusk.
Adur Levels 2004

Half a century of bird watching is celebrated in a new book by the Shoreham & District Ornithological Society. This anthology celebrates the society that was established in 1953 and is entitled "50 Years of Bird Watching". (Shoreham Herald Report)

28 January 2004
There is a very light fall of snow around 3:00 am leaving a frost-like covering over grass and hedges. The dew point temperature in the early morning was -0.5 ºC (falling to -4.3 ºC in the by 9:30 am) although the temperature was above freezing at 3.2 ºC with no wind, calm conditions. By dawn the snow had all melted. But even by midday the temperature only notched 6.4 ºC. From 6:15 pm there as a sudden brief sleet squall (gusting to Gale Force 7) with a clap of thunder and a flash of lightning. This was followed by a sudden drop of air temperature to below freezing to -0.4 ºC before midnight.

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.

24-25 January 2004

RSPB Garden Bird Watch (click on this text to record your sightings)
The weather was clear with a temperature reaching 10.5 ºC in the early afternoon of the 24th with a light breeze. 

No birds were recorded in my small garden in Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham-by-Sea. (TQ 224 055) in the very brief time I had the chance to look out. A Pied Wagtail flew from the tarmac pavement over the adjacent Privet hedge.
In the larger (75 square metres) garden at 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), Shoreham-by-Sea, (TQ  219 063), the garden bird count was as follows: Blue Tits 5+, Chaffinches 4, Starlings 4, Greenfinches 3, Collared Doves 2, Wren 1, Crow 1. There were four Magpies in the tree in the garden next door (east). 
Adur Valley (Shoreham) Biodiversity "Garden Birds" Self-entry Database
Town & Gardens 2004

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

18 January 2004
We visited the bird watching hide at Woods Mill Nature Reserve, Small Dole, (HQ of the Sussex Wildlife Trust) and at first there was nothing to see but after a short while we were delighted to see a Siskin and a Treecreeper and a Nuthatch.
This was the first time we had been to Woods Mill since the redesign of the main lake.

17 January 2004
My south Lancing garden Goldfinch count has risen to five.
(TQ 186 044)
Lancing Garden 2002 web page

Trees being lopped on Southwick Green 16 January 2004 
On Southwick Green the upper limbs of at least half a dozen trees are being completely sawn off by the tree surgeons. They are all the same species of trees and it makes them seem incongruous amongst the fully branched trees that otherwise surround the green. There does not seem any ostensible reason for the lopping. My first thoughts that these were diseased Elms and that the branches may have fallen down suddenly causing injury or damage. 

The trees worked on were Poplars and the work carried out was basically pollarding.
These trees are probably about 70 or 80 years old, and at an early stage they where reduced in height. This work has been continued every five or six years ever since.
Once maintenance of is this kind established on a tree it is often not possible to allow it to become any higher as there is a weakness in the "knuckles" where the branches have been repeatedly cut back.

14 January 2004 
Five and thirty black Crows on Lancing Beach Green which is about double the number expected, but still no match for numbers on the downs which can be up to two hundred.

12 January 2004 
At least three Long-tailed Tits flew into the Hawthorn Tree at the foot of my south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044). It was joined by just a solitary Goldfinch: this colourful bird usually goes around in flocks of its own species and it is not a regular visitor to gardens, even gardens with Teasel, to which it was attracted.

A flock of 20+ Chaffinches (possibly Bramblings) in St. Mary de Haura Churchyard, New Shoreham in the middle of the town centre was unusual. Unfortunately, there were too many people and at the first sign of disturbance they flew from the grass they were feeding on into the shelter of the trees. 
Town & Gardens

This morning I saw a Blackcap in my garden in north Shoreham. It was raining heavily at the time. It and a Robin were feeding off berries close to the back door.   
                                  Blackcap Report by Marion Page on Sussex Ornithological News

6 January 2004
Amongst the  prefabricated huts on Golden Sands Caravan Park, near Widewater Lagoon, Lancing, a female Black Redstart was recognised.  This bird was not been recorded before on these Nature Notes pages and has probably been overlooked as the bird is plain in colour.  
This bird is usually a fairly common Winter Visitor.

In the 
stroud by the Withy Patch, New Monks Farm, Lancing, the Jew's Ear Fungus, Hirneola auricola-judae, was beginning to turn gooey. There was another white fungus or lichen on the trunk of a living tree amongst the prevalent rotten wood.
Adur Levels 2004 (with fungal images)

5 January 2004

As the Shoreham Harbour fog horn boomed, four Oystercatchers, Haematopus ostralegus, probed for worms amongst the mussel beds and sand on Kingston Beach at low tide

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).
Full Message on Sussex Birds
Report by Richard Fairbank (Shoreham Beach) on the Sussex Birds Yahoo Group
2 January 2004

Tubaria (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)Caespitose amongst the grass and tree roots on the Cokeham Reed Beds (west Lancing)  several orange-brown mushrooms poked their caps above the leaf litter. 
Colin J has tentatively identified this species as Gymnopilus junonius.
Another Image (underside)
NB: This ID has NOT been confirmed (just a possible).
I plumped for Tubaria furfuracea (AH), and Malcolm Storey (BioImages) thought it was more likely to be this species.
Fungi of Lancing (Picture Portfolio)
Lepista ? (Photograph by Ray Hamblett) Another similar fungus was seen in the same location. Malcolm Storey has suggested the strong possibility it could be the Tawny Funnel Cap? Lepista inversa (=Clitocybe flaccida). Message (Link). Image 2. This second species (left) has pale gills whereas Tubaria has orange gills.
Fungi of the British Isles (Yahoo Group)
Fungi of Shoreham (with images of Tubaria furfuracea)
Recommended English Names for Fungi

During a visit to a garden adjacent to the Cokeham Reed beds I was able to hear for myself the squealing call of a Water Rail. The call is regularly heard from this garden, the bird would have been at least 200 metres away, well concealed among the Phragmites australis Reed bed.

A small flock of half a dozen Long-tailed Tits visited my south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044). A Wren was also seen amongst the undergrowth.

1 January 2004
The first birds for 2004 were fifty noisy Starlings in the Sycamore Tree in Corbyn Crescent (the one that survived the storm of October 1987) almost simultaneously a Herring Gull flew past. (TQ 224 055).
Town & Gardens 2004
Urban Wildlife Webring
With very little colour and green vegetation on the Downslink cyclepath, and patches of standing water and mud, sometimes the shyer birds make their presence known, but there was very little to see, Blue Tits were noticeable and a few Moorhens in the fields on the west side of the river next to Ladywell Stream (near Cuckoo's Corner, on the Coombes Road).

Flammulina velutipes (Photograph by Andy Horton) Clumps of Velvet Shank, Flammulina velutipes fungus were growing on at least three 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.
ID and notes by Geoffrey Kibby,
Senior Editor, Field Mycology

Fungi of Shoreham (with more images)
Adur Fungi: Fruiting Bodies (Monthly Guide)

Adur Levels 2004

Mill Hill 2004 (with new map)
History of Mill Hill
Mill Hill News Reports 2004

Chalk Downs 2004

Adur Valley Biodiversity Network  (forum)

MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and Downs

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

The old wildlife reports according to habitat will be archived.

Link to the 2003 Adur Nature Notes pages


    The Shoreham-by-Sea web site started on 1 January 1997.
    Webmaster: Andy Horton.

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