NATURE NOTES      2009
Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex

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July 2009


Reports by Andy Horton from personal observation unless otherwise indicated
Clicking on the new thumbnail-style images will reveal a larger photograph

Adur Coastal & Marine
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Mill Hill & the Downs
Urban Reports

Painted Lady
Common Poppies
Peacock Butterfly



31 July 2009
The weak sun sun shone through the white cumulus clouds in a bright blue sky on what should have been a peak day for the Chalkhill Blue Butterflies, but only 51 were counted in in the one acre transect on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. There were probably only about a hundred Chalkhill Blues on Mill Hill. The Chalkhill Blue count was very poor as in a poor year 200 would be recorded in the transect acre and 750+ in a good year. This would compute to 500 and 3000+ on Mill Hill as a day count.

The first mating pair of Chalkhill Blues were seen on the Mill Hill Cutting 

On the plus side fresh Wall Browns put in a good show with six seen on the day and I would expect a dozen or more would have been noted if I had visited to the middle and upper parts of Mill Hill. 
Full Butterfly Report

29 July 2009
Second brood Wall Brown Butterflies have emerged with the first one clearly seen on the breezy lower slopes of Mill Hill and the second one was a surprise sighting on the verge of the Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath between Upper Beeding and Old Shoreham as the first drops of rain were felt. On Mill Hill, the Chalkhill Blues count was even more disappointing with only 30 seen when even in a poor year over a hundred would be expected. A single worn second brood Dingy Skipper was spotted at the extreme northern end of the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Fourteen butterfly species were seen on an inclement day. Six Southern Hawkers (dragonfly) flew around without stopping in a shaded part of the Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath. 
Full Butterfly Report
New Wild Flowers

26 July 2009
Mill Hill was continually found to be disappointing for butterflies with just over fifty Chalkhill Blue males being disturbed on the one acre transect, and a female spotted crawling amongst the Horseshoe Vetch leaves. The breezy cool conditions were far from ideal for butterflies. It seems it is going to be another poor year for the blue butterflies. One bonus was my first Brown Argus of the year seen clearly on the upper Greater Knapweed meadow south of the copse on the top of Mill Hill Nature Reserve. Female Common Blues were also spotted, notably on the southern bank of Buckingham Cutting. Over a hundred butterflies of fourteen species were seen in just over an hour.
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

Common Blue (male)

Common Blues

23 July 2009
Under a cloudy sky my first female Chalkhill Blue Butterfly of the year was blown about in the breeze, with a count of 24 males in unfavourable conditions on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. A definite first of the year Southern Hawker (dragonfly) hawked to and fro in the wooded area at the top of The Drive in north Shoreham. At the top of the Pixie Path the first Hornet Robber Fly of 2009 settled briefly. But the highlight of the day, as the sun and vanessid butterflies came out along the Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath between Upper Beeding and Old Shoreham, was the first Hummingbird Hawk-moth since 2006 whirring away amongst the meadow herbs on the edge of the verges, its orange rear and vibrating wings most distinctive. 
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Dragonflies 2009
Adur Moths
Adur Flies 2009

20 July 2009
The weather was still too inclement for butterflies after a wet and breezy weekend, but despite the poor conditions a Ringlet Butterfly was recorded on the Waterworks Road for the first time in this location on these web pages and it flew towards Mill Hill to just about make a first inclusion in Mill Hill Nature Reserve.
Full Butterfly Report

16 July 2009
My first Clouded Yellow Butterfly since 2007 flew over Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham, and disappeared from sight amongst the Creeping Thistles. On Mill Hill in the early afternoon the count of male Chalkhill Blue Butterflies was 30. As expected at this time of the year, Large Whites, Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers were all frequently seen. At least five Small Blues, most in good condition were seen on the southern bank of Buckingham Cutting and this must be a second brood. The fifteen butterfly species was the most in a single day this year.
The evening finished with thunder & lightning and torrential rain
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Mill Hill & its Butterflies Article
Adur Weather 2009

14 July 2009
A visit to Tottington Woods, Small Dole, with Jan Hamblett, resulted in the sightings of two butterflies not recorded personally in the Lower Adur Valley area before. 

Silver-washed Fritillary
Silver-washed Fritillary
White Admiral

There were frequent flights under the canopy of Oak and Willow of the large and splendid Silver-washed Fritillaries flying up to about five metres above the ground vegetation and wood piles and occasionally landing for a photograph. Two splendid White Admirals were spotted, the first one slightly worn and intact, and the one that landed in front of us was damaged with two chunks missing out of its left forewing. The first confirmed Migrant Hawker (dragonfly) of the year was seen in a woodland ride in Tottington Wood
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Dragonflies 2009

13 July 2009

In the pasture at Old Erringham by gate leading to the north-west part of Mill Hill Nature Reserve a handful of Round-headed Rampion were seen in flower for the first time this year. The pasture at Erringham Hill (to the east) was being mown to remove the Ragwort heads and I was surprised to spot to spot a what I first thought were Partridges  with four grey chicks, but their long tail indicates juvenile Pheasants amongst the mown grass next to Mill Hill. 
Chalkhill Blue Juvenile Pheasants
On Mill Hill the male Chalkhill Blue count was now 14. Butterflies on an overcast day numbered about a hundred of fourteen species. 
Full Butterfly Report
4 July 2009
The languid flight of a male Banded Demoiselle with its dark blue wings was a notable sighting in the late afternoon on the banks of the River Adur north of Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes Road. There is a stream that runs from Cuckoo's Corner northwards alongside a field of Broad Beans
Adur Level Reports 2009

Full Butterfly Report

3 July 2009
A pristine Peacock Butterfly was spotted on the Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath halfway between Upper Beeding and Old Shoreham which makes 18 species seen in the first three days of July.

Just ten butterfly species were spotted on a breezy afternoon including my first Small Tortoiseshell of the year that stayed still long to capture it on camera. 
Full Butterfly Report

2 July 2009
The brilliant sky blue of the first Chalkhill Blue Butterfly of the year rose from the lower slopes of Mill Hill just before 11:00 am in the humid sunshine. 

Marbled White on Greater Knapweed
Chalkhill Blue

A dragonfly with a multi-patterned abdomen flew amongst the Hawthorn scrub on Mill Hill. It was most likely to be the first Migrant Hawker of the year. Fourteen butterfly species was the equal most in a day this year with yesterday. Marbled Whites led the way with 32 recorded in the late morning, followed by Meadow Browns with 26, and Gatekeeper 17 and Large White 14 the only species in double figures. 
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Full Butterfly Report
New Wild Flowers

Seventeen species of butterflies were recorded in the first two days of 
July 2009

Large White
Small Blue
Meadow Brown
Chalkhill Blue
Red Admiral
Common Blue
Speckled Wood
Marbled White
Small Heath
Large Skipper
Small Skipper
Painted Lady
Small Tortoiseshell
Small White

1 July 2009
Two Skylarks left the long grass in the field north of Holmbush Close on the way to Southwick Hill, where House Martins, Swifts and Swallows flew acrobatically over the Cattle pasture to the south-west. 

Ringlet Butterfly
Ringlet Butterfly

Butterflies were common (203) for the first time since the Painted Lady influx with fourteen species seen, the most in a day this year, plus five of the larger day-flying moths. Meadow Brown led the way with 94 recorded in the early afternoon, followed by Marbled Whites with 45, and Gatekeeper 17 and Large White 14 the only species in double figures. 
Full Butterfly Report
New Wild Flowers



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