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Latest Nature Notes and Index page 2002

Valley and Flood Plain from of the River Adur


River Adur tidal reaches 


Sussex downland on both sides of the River Adur,
including Mill Hill Nature Reserve


Extensive urban area including the coastal towns of Shoreham, Southwick and Lancing, and the inland town of Steyning and countryside villages


Rich marine, seashore, shingle beach and lagoon habitats




June 2004

* If the grid references are not given they could be found on the 
Adur Wildlife database on the Adur eForum


Reports by Andy Horton from personal observation unless otherwise indicated

Childing Pink


30 June 2004
In the grass underneath a pine tree immediately next to the twitten between Ravensbourne Avenue and Buckingham Park, this white mushroom had the texture and was the same size as closed cup commercial mushroom, Agaricus bisporus. Alas, its gills were much paler, a greyish white. 

To be on the safe side, I avoid all mushrooms with white gills! The stem was relatively short and invisible until its was examined closely. 
I think this species is most likely to be Leucoagaricus pudicus.
Fungi of Shoreham

29 June 2004
The brightly coloured hoverfly, which stood out very clearly from the grasses on Malthouse Meadow, Sompting, was discovered to be the species Xanthogramma pedissequum.

Report by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature) on UK Hoverflies (Yahoo Group)
Lancing Flies
Adur Butterfly Report

The first Ringlet Butterfly of 2004 is seen in my Shermanbury garden.

Report by Allen Pollard
Adur First Butterfly Dates 2003-2004
Adur Butterflies Flight Times

There was a Burnet Moth with a striking blue striped abdomen flying between the thistles in the narrow field next to the stream by the Steyning Road (TQ 209 068). This was originally thought to be the Narrow-bordered Five-Spot Burnet Moth, Zygaena lonicerae. However, it it was perhaps even more likely to be a late flyer of the Five-Spot Burnet Moth, Zygaena trifolii ssp. palustrella.
Message from Trevor Boyd on UK Leps
Report with Image
Adur Burnet Moths

28 June 2004
Ten different species of butterflies and two species of damselflies/dragonflies appeared in a Fresh Breeze (Force 5) which was not inimical to insect watching. 
Full Report
The hoverfly Myathropa florea was identified in the Butterfly Copse (TQ 209 063) near the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham.
Adur Hoverflies

27 June 2004
Two young Peregrine Falcons were flying around the perches near their nestbox on Shoreham Harbour Power station chimney. These were birds raised this year. 

Report by Peter Talbot-Elsden

I saw my first Comma Butterfly of the year in the area I have christened the Slonk Hill South Trail (western, the Buckingham Road end) where there was a profusion of Pyramidal Orchids in flower. 
Full Report

Marbled White Butterfly25 June 2004
Over a hundred fresh Marbled Whites were the most prevalent butterflies in the long grass meadows south-east of Lancing Clump. A handful of Skippers were with them with Meadow Browns and Common Blue Butterflies. Vestal Cuckoo Bumblebees, Psithyrus vestalis, were identified by their large size and other features. 
Full Report
Adur Bumblebees
Over 50 Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies were widespread in ones and two over wasteland like the cyclepath and towpaths near Old Shoreham Toll Bridge and a few on the meadows near Lancing Clump.
Adur Butterflies
Adur Town & Gardens

23 June 2004
The fine weather has comprehensively come to an end with Fresh Gale Force 8 south-westerly winds gusting to Strong Gale Force 9. The maximum wind speed on Shoreham Beach was recorded at 60 mph (Storm Force 10)

22 June 2004
On the southern embankment of the A27 Shoreham By-pass, near the Buckingham Park end, there were a pair of amorous skippers, but I was unable to confirm if they were Small Skippers which they appeared like, or the very similar Large Skippers

Common Blue Damselfly
There were two Common Blue Damselflies, Enallagma cyathigerum, in the long grasses. This was the first positive record of these damselflies on these Nature Notes pages. They have been photographed in Lancing before though. 
Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies

21 June 2004
Amongst the long grasses and wild flowers in the north-east corner of Mill Hill, my first Large Skipper of 2004 put in an appearance. I thought it was a Small Skipper at first, until it opened up its wings. 
Adur Butterfly List 2004
Large Skipper

This hoverfly is the bumblebee mimic Volucella bombylans var. bombylansOn the lower slopes this short red organism was initially a mystery to me (picture above right). It was discovered to be a plant gall Robin's Pin Cushion created by groups of larvae of the Gall Wasp, Diplolepis rosae.

This hoverfly is the bumblebee mimic Volucella bombylans var. bombylans seen hovering around in the field next to the stream between the Steyning Road (A283) and the Waterworks (TQ 209 068).
Adur Hoverflies
Beware of the possible (not confirmed) Giant Hogweed, Heracleum mantegazzianum, in this area. This huge plant exudes a sap which can cause severe and untreatable dermatitis. 

Pyramidal Orchid19 June 2004
On an overcast breezy day with showers and rumblings of thunder, it was the Pyramidal Orchids that had taken over from Spotted Orchids as the most noticeable and fresh on the southern bank of the A27 Shoreham By-pass (Buckingham to Slonk Hill South) and the only butterflies in flight were a couple of Meadow Browns
Adur Orchids (CD-ROM only)

Photograph by Andy Horton

There was one Burnet Moth caterpillar crawling up the stalk of a Greater Bird's Foot Trefoil plant. The image has been rotated clockwise to make for easier viewing and can be clicked on for a larger image. 
Extra Images (CD-ROM only)

18 June 2004
A caterpillar discovered crawling over the Dogwood on Lancing Clump is one of the Burnet moth larva, but which one, the 6-spot, Zygaena filipendulae?
Lancing Caterpillars (including image)

Report by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature) on UK Leps (Yahoo Group)
6-Spot Burnet Moths (Adur)

17 June 2004
A young Common Toad, Bufo bufo, has appeared in my south Lancing garden, (TQ 186 044. The Toad was caught in the small pond (just over a square metre) by Katherine Hamblett (9) and her friend Tacita French during a pond dipping session to my slight consternation to them stirring up the mud and leaving the aquatic flora looking a little dishevelled! There are also about 5 adult looking Common Frogs sharing the pond. One small juvenile Frog was found. 
NB: There has been at least 17 continuous days of dry and hot weather without any rain.

Toad (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

Common Toad
Photograph by Ray Hamblett

Toad Portrait Gallery
Lancing Nature Galleries
Report by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature) on the
Freshwater Life of of North-western Europe "Smart Group"

15 June 2004
Much to my astonishment, an early (one week early) Marbled White Butterfly settled on a patch of grass immediately in front of me on the lower slopes of Mill Hill (at the northern end as the path leaves the open into the Hawthorn scrub). 
Adur First Butterfly Dates 2004
Under an almost cloudless blue sky, the air temperature reached 28.8 ºC in the early afternoon. 
Blue Tit (Photograph by Peter Baxter)

These Nature Notes only occasionally feature bird photographs (more often because of the limitations of the photographic equipment than any other reason).
The Blue Tit in the image on the right was visiting a feeder in a Southwick garden. The picture was taken by Peter Baxter using a Pentax Digibino (digital camera with binoculars) and it is better than I can achieve using my digital camera. The photograph has been optimised (compressed), slightly cropped and reduced in size for this web page. 
Southwick Nature 2004

13 June 2004
I saw about half-a-dozen brand-new Large Skippers at Golding Barn, near Upper Beeding

Report by Jim Steedman

On Mill Hill, I briefly spotted a butterfly I did not recognise. It disappeared amongst the long grass and scrub. Dropwort was creating white patches over the lower slopes.
Full Description

I have underestimated the number of Small Blue Butterflies on the road embankment on Slonk Hill South as I was not looking in the prime spot where the Kidney Vetch grows mostly on the A27 By-pass roadside at the bottom of the steep crumbly slope, whereas I usually approach from the boundary copse on the south side. A further twenty of these butterflies were seen in different areas from where they were previously recorded. The first Small Skipper* of the year nectared on Kidney Vetch. (* Only a fleeting side view was obtained, so this is not a confirmed record. (Observations in 2005 rather suggest that is likely to be a Large Skipper.)
Full Report
A total of ten different species of butterfly were seen on the day.
Adur First Butterfly Dates 2004
Adur Butterfly List 2004

In a Shoreham garden there was a hoverfly Merodon equestris.

12 June 2004
A Mute Swan with eight cygnets were seen on the River Adur from Coronation Green at low tide in the rivulet between the mud banks on either side.
Adur Estuary

River Adur due south of Coronation Green on the southern bank of the Adur11 June 2004
Wildlife of Shoreham
Adur Festival Event
A local wildlife talk by Andy Horton for the Shoreham Society was held at St. Peter's Church, West Street, Shoreham-by-Sea.

11 June 2004
Spotted OrchidAmongst the hundreds of Spotted Orchids, and at least eight Small Blue Butterflies, I saw my first Meadow Brown Butterfly of 2004, which was restless and settled with its wings closed, on the A27 road embankment at Slonk Hill South. There was also a Red Admiral in flight and on the wooded path there were two Speckled Wood Butterflies, at least two Small White Butterflies, and a Green-veined White Butterfly fluttered past. 

Small Blue Butterflies were not evenly distributed along the bank. In the second opening, only one was seen, but on the same longitude as Buckingham Barn where Kidney Vetch and Pyramidal Orchids are in flower, there was a count of 12 and almost certainly 20 of these tiny butterflies in view, with many more hidden. It was in this roadside area that I was amazed by the bright colours of my first Clouded Yellow Butterfly of the year, the black edges on bright yellow to the upperside of the wings clear in flight and the underside with a heavy greenish tinge. (This is the earliest report of a Clouded Yellow on these Nature Notes pages, the previous earliest being on 29 June 2000.)
Adur: Spotted Orchids
Full Report
Altogether there were twelve different species of butterflies on the day. 

Small Blue Butterfly10 June 2004
An estimated 30 to 50 Small Blue Butterflies were seen on the southern road embankment, south-east of Mill Hill in the mid-afternoon. The is the first definite record for Mill Hill and increases the sightings list to 26 species, plus one probable.
Full Report and Photographs

Bee Orchid9 June 2004
A Stoat surprised me with an acrobatic U-shaped jump as it bounded away from the wooden shed (used to store horse feed) in the horse's field immediately to the west of the entrance of the Waterworks House, Old Shoreham (at the foot of Mill Hill). This area has been known to provide a habitat for Stoats but this is still the first record since these Nature Notes pages were started in 1998.
On the Waterworks Road (Old Shoreham) there was one Small White Butterfly, one Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly and one Red Admiral Butterfly amongst the Stinging Nettles. In the Butterfly Copse (TQ 209 063), there was one Speckled Wood Butterfly. On the cyclepath north of the Toll Bridge, just one faded Painted Lady Butterfly was seen in a brief visit. 

Ruddy DarterThe thistles were over a metre high in the narrow field next to the stream by the Steyning Road (TQ 209 068) and the dull brown-orange dragonfly and looked larger and flightier than a damselfly and it was an early Ruddy Darter* (originally misidentified as a Common Darter). This is a very early date for the emergence of this dragonfly, but it was photographed.

* Identified by David Kitching and confirmed by Phil Lord
on UK Dragonflies (Yahoo Group)
The identification point is the all-black legs without a trace of ochre/yellow found on the Common Darter
Adur Dragonfly Flight Times
Adur Levels

7 June 2004
The first Red Admiral Butterfly for 2004 in the Adur area and lower valley is seen in north Sompting on a hot sunny day when the air temperature reached 25.0 ºC.

Report by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature) on UK-Leps (Yahoo Group)
A Blue-tailed Damselfly, Ischnura elegans, emerged from the garden pond at The Drive, Shoreham. Another one was seen flying around the multiple flowers in the garden.
Full Report (with photographs)
Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies

7-11 June 2004, 14-17 June 2004
Adur Valley Biodiversity Exhibition 2004
Adur Civic Centre Foyer, Ham Road, Shoreham-by-Sea
Adur Festival Event
Enjoy an exhibition of colour photographs of the fascinating wildlife of the Adur Valley in this two week long exhibition in the foyer of the Council offices; including Butterflies and Food Plants of Mill Hill (by Andy Horton), Vegetated Shingle and Widewater Lagoon (by David and Marion Wood) and Wildlife of Lancing (by Ray Hamblett).

6 June 2004
The first positive Wall Brown Butterfly of the year in the lower Adur valley was seen on the path between the Waterworks Road (Old Shoreham) and Mill Hill (south of the A27 Shoreham by-pass). It flew strongly and it was tricky to confirm the identification and even more tricky to photograph. It is probably the second one of the year, but the first a fortnight ago in Beeding was not confirmed. 

A small white butterfly was flying strongly over the southern part of the upper slopes of Mill Hill. This was definitely identified as a Green-veined White Butterfly which increases the confirmed New Millennium Mill Hill butterfly list at 25 plus two probables. 
Wall Brown Butterfly
Adonis Blues (Photograph by Andy Horton)
Wall Brown Butterfly
Very often this butterfly will land on paths and walls
Adonis Blue Butterflies
mating (see ID notes)

Down on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the Horseshoe Vetch had ceased its main flowering and could be seen on the ground, but the spectacular bloom of a fortnight before that could be seen from half a mile away had now receded to a green expanse. Blue butterflies were immediately noticeable. On the normal transect walking the distance of the path to the copse and back, 28 Adonis Blue Butterflies were counted as positive single butterfly sightings (24 males, 3 females and one indeterminate) with only one Dingy Skipper settling although there could have been more. All three definite females were the conventional chocolate brown colour. The midday visit also yielded an estimated 50 Small Heath Butterflies. Common Milkwort was prominent and Bird's Foot Trefoil was noticed although but nowhere equalling the remaining Horseshoe Vetch in flower. 
NB:  I had my doubts over the ID. I have been advised that the black veining that extends on to the wing is characteristic of the Adonis Blue, but I cannot say I have seen this all that often. 
I'd say these were Adonis for two reasons. The first is the lines running across the white wing margins to the very edge of the wings. This can even be seen on the female underside. The second is the relative size of the body to the wings.

Second Opinion by Pete Eeles on UK Leps Yahoo Group
Another image (link)
Adur Butterfly List 2004
Adur Butterflies Flight Times
Adur First Butterfly Dates 2004

5 June 2004
Venue: Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea
Adur Festival Event
British Marine Life Study Society Seashore Aquarium exhibit (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)
Crowds of children around Katherine Hamblett's live crab pond dipping exhibit.

Adur was one of the leaders in the United Kingdom when it presented an Exhibition celebrating the official World Oceans Day. It was held in the large marquee on Coronation Green overlooking the River Adur.

I estimated the attendance on a sunny day (21.4° C) at 3,500 (estimates of attendances at other events have been overstated).

With the sheer number of people (a continuous procession without a break for seven hours) it made it impossible to speak to people as much as I would like. There were lots of interesting conversations and I was surprised about the number of people who stepped on a Weever Fish last summer, at least half a dozen, and it was lucky we had a small specimen on display so people could have a look at the offender. 
Lesser Weever (juvenile fish) Photograph by Ray Hamblett

The most interesting discovery was an unidentified fossil found on Shoreham beach and brought in by a young girl. This is illustrated on the right (above).

The fossil is part of a test (internal shell) of a sea urchin formed about 85 million years ago. The long spines have broken off leaving the base only. The exact species has not been  established yet. 

Adur World Oceans Day 2004 Image Portfolio (by Ray Hamblett)

4 June 2004
Twenty pairs of Adonis Blue Butterflies are observed on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.

Report by Brianne Reeve (on 11 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.
A foot long (30 cm) pencil thin snake with a forked tongue was reported from a garden on the edge of Widewater Lagoon. It was an Atlantic Eel, Anguilla anguilla.

3 June 2004
Liocarcinus vernalis
Portumnus latipes in berry. (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

A short 30 minute spell of push-netting for shrimps off Shoreham beach on the low spring tide produced two dozen Brown Shrimps, Crangon crangon, a handful of the South-clawed Hermit Crab, Diogenes pugilator, one young venomous Lesser Weever, Echiichthys vipera, two juvenile Grey Swimming Crabs, Liocarcinus vernalis,  with 30+ young Flounders and two young Sole. The crab in the photograph with the "fleur-de lis" is Portumnus latipes.
Identification Discussions

Adur at Low Tide
British Marine Life Study Society

1 June 2004
Spider Crabs (the female discovered is underneath the male in this aquarium photograph)Jan and Katherine Hamblett discovered a large Spiny Spider Crab, Maja squinado, on the sand and rock beach opposite Brooklands at the edge of the sea in a dip on a low spring tide
The usual fare of Shore Crabs, Carcinus maenas, and Snakelocks Anemone, Anemonia viridis, were present, at least two Butterfish, Pholis gunnellus, between the tides and exceptionally, the rarer Pimplet Anemone, Anthopleura balli, is at its most eastern point of distribution up the English Channel at Worthing. At least two small grey specimens of the Daisy Anemone, Cereus pedunculatus, were also discovered and there were probably many more. This species is not normally recorded on the shore at Worthing. 
Sea Anemones of Sussex
Adur Seashore

May 2004 Reports
April 2004 Reports

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

Chalk Downs 2004
Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea

Adur Valley Biodiversity Network  (forum)

MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and Downs

Urban Wildlife Webring

Link to more detailed wildlife reports for January to March 2003
Link to the spring wildlife reports for 2003
Adur Valley Nature Notes  October - December 2002

Link to Adur Valley Nature Notes 2003Latest Nature Notes and Index page 2002

Adur Valley Nature Notes  January to March 2002
Adur Valley Nature Notes  April - June 2002
Adur Valley Nature Notes  July - September 2002
Adur Valley Nature Notes  October - December 2002

Mill Hill, north of Shoreham

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