NATURE NOTES      2009
Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex

View of Brighton from Shoreham Beach
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June 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
Red Valerian and Sea Kale on Shoreham Beach
Shoreham Beach Flowers
Bee Orchid


6 June 2009

Venue: Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea
Admission: FREE

Adur World Oceans Day took place in the marquee on Coronation Green on 6th June 2009 on the opening Saturday of the Adur Festival. Len Nevell was there with the usual exhibition of lobsters and crabs. The innovative aquarium displays of seashore life, strandline exhibits and photographs will again be in on show. Experts will be on hand to answer your queries about life in the oceans and on the seashore. 
Egg Cases of the Lesser Spotted Dogfish (top) and Undulate Ray Life size inflatable Dolphin provided by the Sea Watch Foundation

I think World Oceans Day this is best described by the Nobel prize winning author John Steinbeck when writing about Ed 'Doc' Ricketts of Cannery Row fame in which he wrote 'commercial fishermen harvest the sea to feed men's bodies and a marine biologist harvests the sea to feed men's minds'
Quote by Andy Horton (British Marine Life Study Society)

The Friends of Shoreham Beach played an important part with their own displays and information about the Nature Reserve and plants of the shingle beach. 

Adur World Oceans Day is run by a committee comprising representatives of the British Marine Life Study Society, West Sussex County Council, the Sea Watch Foundation, Friends of Shoreham Beach and other groups, with support from Adur District Council.

World Oceans Day was declared at the Earth Summit in 1992.

World Oceans Day UK Web Page

Sussex Marine Jottings Report and Images


30 June 2009
I only had twenty seconds to spot the large spectacular hoverfly Volucella zonaria over the southern part of Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham. It was the first one seen this year in warm humid weather conditions in mid-afternoon. 

29 June 2009

Gatekeeper Female Meadow Brown
Male Gatekeeper
Female Meadow Brown

I suspected that the small brown butterflies blown about in the breeze of the last few days were Gatekeepers, but a male settled for confirmation for the first definite of the year. On the Adur Levels, Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Moths, Zygaena lonicerae, visited Tufted Vetch, for the first record in 2009. Eight butterfly species  were recorded near Shoreham in the late afternoon, including a Marbled White and Small Tortoiseshell over Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham. 
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Full Butterfly & Moth Report
Adur Burnet Moths

26 June 2009
A Privet Hawkmoth was photographed on Shoreham Beach

 Report by John Maskell on Sussex Butterflies
Adur Moths

25 June 2009
A metre long Bluefin Tuna, Thunnus thynnus, jumped 30 cm clear of the sea in the vicinity of a fishing boat seven miles off Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, in the early afternoon on a sunny day. It was speculated that this tunny (which is now rare in British seas) followed the large shoals of fish in, which in turn attracted the fishing vessel. "As it left the water I was able to catch sight of its gleaming multi-coloured sides of the the torpedo-shaped fish and the small pre-caudal triangular finlets appeared dark blue. Its weight was estimated to be about 12 kg."

Report by Mark Griffiths
BMLSS Tunnies

In the late afternoon, two Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, were seen on the flint walls of the Old Fort, Shoreham Beach. Both were green intact adults and the first one stayed around long enough for a photograph. 
Adur Lizards

Near the Old Fort, the expanse of Starry Clover, Trifolium stellatum, flowering was coming to an end. Childing Pink, Petrorhagia nanteuilii, was present in small numbers, all with single flowers in their usual place in a small patch at Silver Sands.
New Wild Flowers

22 June 2009
A cycle ride from Old Shoreham to Annington Sewer along the Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath produced frequent butterflies including at least two of my first Ringlet Butterflies of the year and six other butterfly species.
The most interesting observations of the day occurred at Annington Sewer where a large blue dragonfly flew over the stream and it looked subtly different from a Southern Hawker and may very well have been a male Emperor Dragonfly. Unfortunately, it quickly flew out of sight. 

Its display was excelled by a pair of  Banded Demoiselles, Calopteryx splendens, that danced over the stream for a full ten minutes and probably longer. They appeared to be courting, but both of the wings had bright blue patches whereas the female has wings of metallic green. Interestingly there was a resting emerald green damselfly (illustrated above) of about the same size which may have been a female of the species.

Full Butterfly Report
Adur Dragonflies 2009
Full Dragonfly and Damselfly Report
New Wild Flowers

21 June 2009
On a breezy mostly overcast day the most interesting observation were twenty or more small bees on the flower heads of the Musk Thistle on the side of the path as it runs past the Reservoir on the southern part of Mill Hill. They looked like a species of Lasioglossum, but my bee identification is fallible. 

Lady's Mantle
Musk Thistle
Lady's Mantle

Full Butterfly Report
New Wild Flowers

19 June 2009
Wrens were noted calling for their mates on the outskirts of Shoreham including the Waterworks Road on a sunny day. Over Lancing Ring dewpond, I spent ten minutes or more watching three pairs of Broad-bodied Chasers (dragonfly), Libellula depressa, chasing each other all over the pond. Occasionally one of them would dip on the surface of the murky water. On two occasions in-flight mating was observed for about ten seconds, possibly longer on the first occasion. Over McIntyre's Field two dragonflies were observed in quick succession, the first one was brown in colour and thought to be the Hairy Dragonfly, Brachytron pratense, and the second one with a blue abdomen was almost certainly a Southern Hawker. 
Adur Dragonflies 2009

Large Skipper
Large Skipper
Small Skipper

Twelve species of butterfly were seen on a visit to Lancing Clump where I discovered my first Small Skipper of the year. 
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Skippers
New Wild Flowers

14 June 2009
Privet was flowering in profusion and intruding on the lower slopes of Mill Hill in a damaging way (damaging to the long term prospects of the butterflies). 

Wasp leaving the nest in a hole in the chalk
Another noteworthy observation was a nest of the Common Wasp, Vespula vulgaris, in a small hole and scores of wasps were seen entering and leaving in a few minutes, until I felt it was too dangerous to stay around. I debated about the significance of such a large congregation of predators on the caterpillars of the butterflies? 
Ten butterfly species were seen on a sunny day including a Marbled White and Small Tortoiseshell on Mill Hill. 
Full Butterfly Report

13 June 2009
On a humid warm Saturday, I detoured a route that took me from the Buckingham Cutting along the linear path on the southern side of the Slonk Hill Cutting I spotted my first three Large Skippers of the year, 100+ Small Blue Butterflies, at least two tatty male Common Blues and a few male Meadow Browns. There were nine butterfly species seen. 
Full Butterfly Report

12 June 2009
On the Coastal Link Cyclepath just south of the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham, the flying insect fluttering and being blown about in the breeze was not a butterfly but a Banded Demoiselle (a damselfly). 
Adur Dragonflies and Damsels 2009
Six-spotted Burnet Moth
Banded Demoiselle

I recorded my first Meadow Brown Butterfly of 2009 over the Coastal Link Cyclepath on a cycle ride to Botolphs. It was a male with its all brown markings. My first of the year Six-spotted Burnet Moth was one of two on Creeping Thistle at the back of Dacre Gardens next to Anchor Bottom, Upper Beeding. Wild Mignonette hosted a dozen Small Blue Butterflies and one male Common Blue in the same area. A patch of over fifty Fragrant Orchids on the southern (south-west, north facing) bank of Anchor Bottom was unprecedented in these records. 
New Wild Flowers
Full Butterfly & Moth Report
Adur Orchid Images 2009
Adur Orchids
Adur Burnet Moths

8 June 2009
An afternoon outing on an overcast day on the southern side of Buckingham Cutting, the small blue butterflies amongst the Brambles were all Small Blues and the estimate was 75+ in this small area. My first Marbled White Butterfly of the year made a sudden appearance. 
Small Blue Butterfly
Speckled Wood Butterfly

There were eight species of butterfly seen in an hour on a cloudy afternoon including frequent Speckled Woods in Buckingham Park, Shoreham, and a Wall Brown on Mill Hill.
Full Butterfly Report

The orchid (illustrated on the right) discovered on the Mill Hill Cutting (south-west) was a mystery. There are seven votes for the Southern Marsh Orchid, Dactylorhiza praetermissa
New Wild Flowers

7 June 2009
A female Stag Beetle, Lucanus cervus, crawled across the pavement of Buckingham Road, Shoreham, just north of the junction with Nicolson Drive. 
Adur Beetles
Male Stag Beetle 2009

3 June 2009

Portumnus latipes with fleur-de lis markings
A Force 4 easterly Breeze prevented any serious shrimping on Southwick Beach as the waves rolled in. A quick ten minute push on the outgoing tide produced a medium-sized Lesser Weever, Echiichthys vipera, one swimming crab Portumnus latipes with "fleur-de lis" markings, five Brown Shrimps, Crangon crangon, and two flatfish (probably Plaice) fry
British Intertidal Crabs

Bee OrchidOn the south side of the Shoreham Harbour Power Station chimney, just above the nest box, a female Peregrine Falcon perched on one of the ledges. It could be identified to gender by its greater size than the male of the species. 

2 June 2009
Tufted Vetch on the verges of the Steyning Road (north of Old Shoreham) and a dozen or so Bee Orchids on the verge of Mill Hill Drive, Old Shoreham, were two new flowers seen for the first time this year. My first Pyramidal Orchid of the year was seen on the on the Coastal Link Cyclepath south of Upper Beeding. 
Adur Orchids



History of Mill Hill
Mill Hill News Reports 2009

Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea
Shoreham and District Ornithological Society
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MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and Downs

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Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2008 web pages
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