ADUR NATURE NOTES 2013
Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex
 
 
 

July 2013

Clouds (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)
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Reports by Andy Horton from personal observation unless otherwise indicated
Clicking on the new thumbnail-style images will reveal a larger photograph

2013  Regional
 
 

PROJECT RIVER ADUR
Education Resource for Schools

The River Adur Project: a documentary for schools was published at the end of June to the beginning of July 2013.
Click on the button above to go to the web page to download the Powerpoint presentation.


Adur Coastal & Marine
Adur Estuary & Levels
Mill Hill & the Downs
Urban Reports


EVENTS


WILDLIFE REPORTS
 
 

Chalkhill Blue (male)27 July 2013
Hundreds of butterflies fluttered over the lower slopes of Mill Hill around midday. In some places, I thought I would tread on the butterflies with an estimated 350+ Chalkhill Blues on the parched down. There was as many Meadow Browns and frequent Gatekeeper and Marbled Whites. (The actual acre transect count of Chalkhill Blues was 78, M76 F2, but I arrived too early and lots more appeared from the short dense vegetation as the sun came out.) Eleven butterfly species were seen in just over an hour.
Full Butterfly Report

26 July 2013
A Grey Heron, poised like a stature on the stream bridge on private land at Farrows Barn, Ladywells, flew off gracefully over the Lancing College pasture as I retrieved my camera from its small bag. A few minutes later, I saw a large white presence high in the trees along the Coombes Road (north of Cuckoo's Corner). It turned out to be a Little Egret. 
On a high spring tide at the Cuckoo's Corner inlet, shoals of thousands of Sand Smelt, Atherina presbyter, rippled the surface of the murky water. There were many of them in over a hundred separate shoals just under the surface. The small shoals followed a leader in an arrow formation and the much larger shoals formed dark rugby ball-sized schools numbering over a hundred in each. And the even larger balls of this small elongate fish numbered several hundred in each. Every half minute the relatively still unruffled river was interrupted by a commotion followed by a much larger splash, assumed to be larger predatory fish attempting to feed. The most likely candidate was the Bass, Dicentrarchus labrax, and one small first year Bass fry was seen. 
Adur Levels 2013

25 July 2013
In the afternoon the clouds cleared so I did my Mill Hill butterfly transect with the following result: Chalkhill Blue 63, Comma 1, Dark Green Fritillary 1, Gatekeeper 60, Green-veined White 1, Large White 1, Marbled White 16, Meadow Brown 116, Red Admiral, Small Heath 1, Small White 2, other Whites 8.
Gatekeepers and Chalkhill Blues continue to increase, but the big news was the Dark Green Fritillary which is the first I have recorded on Mill Hill. It settled a couple of times, then flew off strongly and left the area.


 
Marbled White Butterfly
Large Skipper
Marbled White
Large Skipper

A half an hour passage trip along the southern bank of the A27 opposite Slonk Hill, resulted in three (out of eleven) species of butterfly not recorded on the day before. I only spent about ten minutes looking for butterflies but it was enough to spot a Small Blue Butterfly immediately on Buckingham Cutting (south) as well as a Cinnabar Moth, two Large Skippers on the edges of the linear copse in an open area and lastly a Ringlet on the top part of the roadside verge at the eastern end. Other butterflies seen on the brief trip included Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Speckled Browns, one Holly Blue, Large Whites, Small Whites and at least one Marbled White and one Comma. A few Yellow Shell Moths were seen. Six-spotted Burnet Moths were occasionally seen as well as a few unidentified micro-moths. I was also fortunate enough to spot the first of the large hoverflies of the year. It was the attractive Volucella inanis.
Adur Butterfly List 2013
Adur Skippers
Adur Burnet Moths

24 July 2013

The clouds looked very strange at dusk (8:52 pm) over Lancing and a similar view was seen from Hollingbury, Brighton.

Report and Images by Ray Hamblett


I think these must be unusual high altitude clouds of the cirrus type ?
Cloud Types
List of Cloud Types (Wikipedia)
Shoreham Weather Page
 
In the early evening one Bluefire Jellyfish, Cyanea lamarkii, was discovered washed up on the shore on Lancing Beach. Other specimens of this stinging jellyfish were seen in the shallow water. This jellyfish has only once been recorded on the shore locally in my records and the species is usually associated off the western coasts of Britain although there have been North Sea reports.
Report & Photograph by Carol Thomson


 Previous Report (2005)
BMLSS Jellyfish
Adur Coastal 2013

Bluefire (Photograph by Carol Thomson)

On the warm day, (but cooler than all the last week) I took the opportunity to make a leisurely visit to Mill Hill. 28 male Chalkhill Blue Butterflies were counted on the transect acre in the intermittent sunshine on the parched down. Butterflies were common with over one hundred of sixteen species seen in an hour. The most spectacular were the bright orange Comma Butterflies and bright fresh red Peacock Butterflies. Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns were everywhere on the outskirts and downs.

Harebell
Chalkhill Blue
Stemless Thistle
Teasel
on Mill Hill

Over fifty Six-spotted Burnet Moths visited the purple flowers of the Knapweeds. Last and certainly least, I spotted an immigrant Painted Lady on the abundant Ragwort on the southern part of Mill Hill. 
Full Butterfly Report (graphical)

17 July 2013
At last I spotted my first Chalkhill Blue Butterflies on the lower slopes of Mill Hill with 14 of the blue males counted in the one acre transect in the heat of the middle of the day. All these new butterflies were restless and none of them settled even for a second. The same restlessness applied to the Marbled Whites with 39 counted on Mill Hill. 
Twelve species of butterfly and three day-flying moths were seen on a sunny day. All but a Small White Butterfly  were seen on Mill Hill. 
Full Butterfly Report
 

Round-headed Rampion 
 Knapweed Broomrape
Knapweed Broomrape

On Mill Hill and the adjacent pasture at Old Erringham, Round-headed Rampion was seen in flower for the first time this year. 
 
15 July 2013
At least one Common Frog has returned to small pond in my front garden in the warm dry weather after a total absence last year. The froglets from this years hatching were also present amongst the Duckweek and stems of the Marsh Marigolds..
Seven species of butterfly were seen on the outskirts of Shoreham. 
Full Butterfly Report

14 July 2013
A Buzzard soared high in the sky over the ridge and fields to the north of Anchor Bottom on a warm sunny day. The flash of orange amongst the thistles was invariably the bright orange of the Small Tortoiseshells, but even brighter were a few Comma Butterflies, even larger were at least two Dark Green Fritillaries and in faded orange was a Painted Lady. Eleven species of butterflies and two day-flying macro-moths were seen in the middle of the day.
 

 Painted Lady
 Small (or Essex) Skipper

I counted 26 Mute Swans on the River Adur at low tide by the Railway Viaduct
Full Butterfly Report

Six-spotted Burnet Moth12 July 2013
The Mill Hill transect produced my first Chalkhill Blue (1) and Gatekeeper (11) of the season, plus 2 very worn Adonis Blue, 2 Large Skipper, 13 Marbled White, 27 Meadow Brown, 1 Red Admiral, 16 Small Heath, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 4 Whites.

Chalkhill Blue Report by Colin Knight on Sussex Butterflies
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

A handful of Swallows swooping to and fro over the derelict Riverside Industrial Estate (north of Ropetackle) by the River Adur was a site to behold on a cool start to a warm afternoon. 
Alas, the Chalkhill Blues had not yet emerged on Mill Hill and pride of place went to the restless Marbled White Butterflies. Amongst the longer grass at the top of the hill, I noted my first two Six-spotted Burnet Moths of the year visiting tall flowers amongst the grasses.

Flora & Fauna on Chalk

The highlight of the day was a dark blue damselfly over the top of Erringham Road in north Shoreham. I thought it was a male Beautiful Demoiselle, Calopteryx virgo, from my rather restricted view of the insect in flight. (It was possible it could have been a male Banded Demoiselle, Calopteryx splendens.)
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Burnet Moths

10 July 2013
My first handful of Swifts of the summer swooped to and fro over Steyning. A walk by the River Adur from Steyning to Upper Beeding was lacking in anything noteworthy although I counted 22 Mute Swans by Salting's Field and both Meadow Brown Butterflies (35+) and the equally numerous Small Tortoiseshells (35+) were everywhere. 
Adur Levels Report

9 July 2013
Another warm day (24.9 °C) and the butterflies were both frequent and restless in the sunshine. My first Small Skipper (12+) of the year was seen on the Downs Link Cyclepath but like the frequent Meadow Browns (50+) and equally numerous Small Tortoiseshells (50+) they were not inclined to settle. 
 

Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Moth
Small Tortoiseshell
Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Moth

Highlight of the day was my first ever confirmed Dark Green Fritillary at the foot of Anchor Bottom (near Dacre Gardens). It was one of two or three of this large and very strong-flying butterfly. Further east along Anchor Bottom, there was at least one, probably two, very faded Painted Ladies by the pair of Elderflower trees. A Marbled White rose from the shade of the largest tree. Thirteen species of butterfly were seen in two hours (mostly cycling) from the middle of the day. 
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

7 July 2013
On the warmest day of the year (26.4 °C), my first Meadow Brown Butterflies of the year, with the first day-flying  Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Moth and probably the first Ringlet Butterfly were seen over the verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath 100 metres south of the Cement Works. There was also a bright orange butterfly that was not recognised to species. 
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Burnet Moths

A Common Seal was reported from Lancing Beach by Widewater. 

Seal Report by Nick Clarke & others on facebook


5 July 2013
On a humid day, eight species of butterfly were seen in an hour including my first Marbled White of the year and still occasional fresh Adonis Blues and courting Small Tortoiseshells on Mill Hill
Full Butterfly Report
Mill Hill Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

Flower Gallery from the Lower Slopes of Mill Hill
Adur Wild Flowers

3 July 2013

Peregrine Falcon
Photograph by Paul Fletcher

We were treated to a display of aerial combat by three resident Peregrine Falcons, a mother and her two fledglings, at Shoreham Harbour Power Station. That was pretty amazing. However the best part was when one of the fledglings landed on a low corrugated iron roof to recuperate, within a few feet of us. I managed to get a few shots on my 200 mm lens before returning to the job in hand. A very special moment indeed.

    
1 July 2013
Two Large Skippers either fighting or courting over the overgrown path along the south bank of the Slonk Hill Cutting was the highlight of a brief detour on a humid late afternoon. The notable feature of the open road embankment were  the thousands of fading Common Spotted Orchids and the appearance of the first Pyramidal Orchids
 
Crab Spider on Pyramidal Orchid
Large Skipper

Other butterflies on passage journey included a faded Red Admiral in the shade of Buckingham Cutting (south) and about twenty Small Blues actually seen amongst the flowering Kidney Vetch on the open road verge with many more hidden, and a Large White, plus a large fawn Blackneck Moth, Lygephila pastinum.
Adur Orchids
Adur Moths
Adur Butterfly List 2013
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
 
24 June 2013 - 1 July 2013

The River Adur Project: documentary for schools was published.
 

RIVER ADUR PROJECT 
Education Resource Package for Schools

Click on the button above to go to the web page to download the Powerpoint presentation.

July 2012 Reports

Shoreham Weather 2013

Adur Nature Notes 2012


Butterfly List 2013
Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea
Shoreham and District Ornithological Society
Lancing Village
 

Shoreham Weather 2013

MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and Downs
 

Urban Wildlife Webring



 

Link to the Adur 2012 Nature Notes pagesLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2011 web pagesLink to the Adur 2010 Nature Notes pages
Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2009 web pagesLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2008 web pagesLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2007 web pages
Link to Adur Nature Notes 2005  Index pageLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2006 web pagesLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2004 Index page
Link to Adur Valley Nature Notes 2003Latest Nature Notes and Index page 2002
Mill Hill, north of Shoreham

     

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    Webmaster: Andy Horton

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