Shoreham-by-Sea Web Site
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Link to Adur Valley Nature Notes 2003
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Butterflies of Lancing
Downs north of Shoreham and the Adur Valley (map)
Butterfly Conservation Society
UK-LEPS Discussion Group (for Butterflies and Moths)
Butterfly Plants "Smart Group"
Adur Butterflies
UK Dragonflies Yahoo Group
Checklist of Fungal Names
Image Album on 
"Adur Biodiversity"



Photograph by Andy Horton

Lancing Clump and the Dewpond from the east
Photograph by Andy Horton 
14 December 2003

Lancing Ring and Meadows: 

Nature Notes

Link to the 2004 Reports (click on this text)

14 December 2003 
Friends of Lancing Ring Christmas Walk  10:00 am
After the deluge of yesterday we were lucky to squelch through the mud of the meadows and paths of Lancing Ring under a clear blue cloudless sky in a pleasant 9° C. For the most part the mud was not cloying and there was no standing water. About 25 ramblers suitably fortified by mince pies and a glass of sherry, with a few dogs, made a circuitous journey past the now full dewpond, down the westerly side where we were met by a chilly (9° C) fresh breeze from the south-west. 

The meadows had been forage harvested. Birds were few, although Jan Hamblett spotted some Yellowhammers around the location of the old Roman Temple (nothing to show above ground). This attractive yellow bird provides a welcome glimpse of colour over the grass in contrast to the sombre leafless clump of   trees. 

Sulphur Tuft 
Hypholoma sublateritium
Common Bonnet
Mycena galericulata

On the decaying beech logs the variety of fungi was past its best. The leaf litter showed no clear toadstools poking out, but I did not have time to look as the party moved on. In the meadows there were several clumps of the orange-brown Tubaria furfuracea mushroom. 
Full Report
Recommended English Names for Fungi

7 November 2003
McIntyres field on the Lancing Ring Nature reserve, north of Manor Allotments, has been forage harvested. That is to say the meadow has been mowed and the straw baled into tight parcels. There are thirty bales each must weigh half a tonne.
The sun was warm but the wind fresh, there was no sign of flying Odonata or Lepidoptera (Dragonflies or Butterflies).

19 October 2003 
A Great Grey Shrike was seen on the west side of Lancing Ring above the recycling plant early in the  morning from 7.50 - 8.05 am. It was an adult bird, first seen perched on the top of a Hawthorn at the edge of the trees at the NW corner of Lancing Ring. It was then disturbed by dogs and flew off down the side of the hill towards the Municipal Tip. I relocated it again perched high in a Hawthorn where it remained for 15 minutes or so except for one small hover which upset the local Blue & Great Tits. It then flew west out of sight in the direction of Findon Valley. 
Grey Grey Shrike Information Page
Report by Bob Kent (Lancing) on the Sussex Birds Yahoo Group

18 October 2003
There was a Kestrel motionless in the branches of a Hawthorn Tree on the northern edge of grazing land immediately north of the Chalk Pit, east of Lancing Clump.

A dozen Common Darter Dragonflies congregated at the top of McIntyres field.

Male Common Darter Butterfly

The dewpond was drained very low, almost devoid of water. This may be evaporation after breezy conditions suited to loss of water in this way, or the clay-covered butyl lining may have sprung a leak? 

An unconfirmed brown butterfly seen by Katherine Hamblett was thought most likely to be a Small Tortoiseshell.
On the rotten timber, there were several different species of fungi
Fungi of Lancing Clump

13 October 2003

Honey Fungus (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

Honey Fungus, Armillaria mellea, amongst the leaf litter
underneath a Sycamore Tree (ID by Mark Pike)
The main area of this fungus is around the stumps of 
Beech Trees felled in the Great Storm of 1987
Photograph by Ray Hamblett

Fungi of the British Isles (Yahoo Forum)
Wood Decay Fungi

5 October 2003
In sheltered parts of McIntyres Field near Lancing Ring, there were plenty of insects including at least ten Common Darter Dragonflies, Sympetrum striolatum, and one other species of dragonfly, probably a Migrant Hawker, Aeshna mixta.
Adur Dragonflies

Speckled Wood Butterfly at Lancing Clump (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)There were seven species of butterflies: Red Admiral (3), Speckled Wood (4), Common Blue female (1), Small White (2), Large White (1), Wall Brown (1), Comma (1). A few grasshoppers were active, chirping in among the dry grasses.
Dewpond Photograph in October 2003 

Adur Butterflies
Adur Butterflies Flight Times

Bracket Fungus, Ganoderma, at Lancing Clump
Photograph by Ray Hamblett (5 October 2003)

20 September 2003
A quick walk around the "Butterfly Trail"  produced two Wall Brown Butterflies, one feeding on the late Greater Knapweed flowers, with two Speckled Wood Butterflies in the shade, and four or more Common Blue Butterflies.
Common Darter Dragonflies, Sympetrum striolatum, were around: at least four were spotted.

Lancing Nature Slide Show Pages (by Ray Hamblett)

Autumn Ladies Tresses Orchid (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)7 September 2003
In the grounds of Lancing College, in front of what used to be Burwell's Farm is a  pond (TQ 197 063) that hosts a wide variety of wildlife. We were treated to a glimpse of a Kingfisher as it darted from a branch of an Willow Tree into more secluded cover. The stream-fed pond was very low and covered in vegetation after the long dry summer.
At the disused chalkpit near Lancing Clump, the rare Autumn Ladies Tresses Orchid, Spiranthes spiralis, was in full flower in the same spot where I had previously seen it.

Full Report
Lancing Nature Image Gallery (by Ray Hamblett)

31 August 2003
A Grass Snake, Natrix natrix, was found trapped in nylon netting on Lancing Manor Allotment and was freed from its accidental entrapment.

Grass Snake (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

The nearby butterflies included on Clouded Yellow, one Peacock, three Common Blues (including one female) and over a dozen White Butterflies

Chalkhill Blue from Lancing Chalk Pit (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)17 August 2003
Two Wasp Spiders, Argiope bruennichi, were found in the early evening close to the chalkpit near Lancing Ring. This immigrant spider from continental Europe was not spotted there last year, but was known from the meadows in 2002.
Previous Report

The picture spot goes to what appears to be a Chalkhill Blue Butterfly (with certain characteristics of the rarer Adonis Blue). Chalkhill Blues are nowhere near as common as on Mill Hill, found in tens rather than hundreds.
Friends of Lancing Ring

NB: I have been looking through some images of Chalkhill Blues from Mill Hill taken this month and many have the full array of orange spots on the lower hindwing, and only a faint black spot in the large tadpole/anchor like mark. But it could just as easily be an Adonis Blue from other photographs. I have photographs of the underwings of both species that match the above picture exactly. The flight time could also match both species.
Tricky comparison photographs for experts (Link)

9 August 2003
A Kestrel soared over the South Downs Conservation Board (SDCB) caravan on a hot humid day. The SDCB were there to explain their plans for grazing cattle on Lancing Ring, and Mill Hill as well. 

3 August 2003
Guided Butterfly Walk

Friends of Lancing Ring  arranged for expert Brianne Reeve of the Butterfly Conservation group to lead a walk over the Lancing Ring Nature Reserve.
Ten different butterflies were seen before we left the car park.

Common Blue (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)There was a screech and a magnificent but very brief view of a Sparrowhawk flying overhead, being mobbed by a Crow, the pale blue-grey body of the raptor distinguished against the cloudless sky. The first butterfly to make an appearance was a Green-veined White, and then there was a steady variety noted by a dozen or more immigrant Clouded Yellows, a large handful of Chalkhill Blues, far outnumbered by Common Blues, and the hard to spot Wall Browns. More eyes are better than a single pair, and I might overlooked nearly a hundred Swifts high in the sky. There was sharp call and a Green Woodpecker flew over at lower end of the meadows, leaving the clump across the meadows to the back garden of a house backing on to the Nature Reserve. There was a new clump of Purple Loosestrife by the dewpond. A handful of Common Darter Dragonflies were tricky to see, merging into the scrub. Silver Y Moths (pic) nestled in the long grass. 

A Gatekeeper ensnared in a spider's webEighteen species of butterfly were seen on the one and half walk around the meadows. All the butterflies were in a restless mood in the hot morning sunshine. The Red Admirals, Small Tortoiseshells, Painted Ladies and others were attracted to the Hemp Agrimony. The Brimstone and Clouded Yellows fluttered rapidly over the open meadow with Hardheads, Spear Thistle, Wild Basil, Ragworts and scores of nectar plants. The Speckled Wood liked shady areas and the Holly Blue and Gatekeepers were found on the edge of the wood (Lancing Clump). One Gatekeeper Butterfly had been caught in a spider's web.  The last butterfly on the list was a Peacock Butterfly as we departed. This total of eighteen was the most species I have seen in one day. 
Butterfly List
2002 Walk Report
Adur Butterflies
White Butterflies of Adur

Small Tortoiseshell30 July 2003
The sky was black to the north and it began to rain lightly. The prevalence of immigrant of brightly coloured strong flying Painted Lady Butterflies (40+) on the footpath through the Lancing Ring meadows with the new reddish Small Tortoiseshells (25+) leaves me to speculate that the Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies were immigrants as well. The Common Blue butterflies were not spotted, but they were certainly there and must have been hiding amongst the long grasses. An Emperor Dragonfly was on patrol. The Harebells were in flower on the western fringe of the clump, but by then it was raining too hard for a close-up photograph. 
Butterfly List (Species Recorded)
Adur Butterflies

27 July 2003
There were 500+ Meadow Brown Butterflies seen with thirteen or fourteen other butterfly species including two Clouded Yellows and a handful of Chalkhill Blues seen on the southern meadows of Lancing Clump. A Wall Brown Butterfly showed an unusual faded colour. The majority of the butterflies were seen in my first walk between 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm. A couple more were added to the list later. Long-winged Conehead Crickets were also seen. A tatty male Chalkhill Blue was photographed.
Full Report
Full Report with supplement
Friends of Lancing Ring

Large White at the top of McIntyres Field24 July 2003
The bright yellow with an unmistakable lining of black was immediately recognised as the first immigrant Clouded Yellow Butterfly of the year in the lower meadows of Lancing Clump. It was flying around energetically. The only other butterflies noted in a passing visit were Common Blues, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Red Admirals, Painted Ladies, Small Tortoiseshells, Wall Browns and Large Whites (note the lengthy black margin on the upper wing as shown in the photograph).  There was at least one Speckled Wood Butterfly in the scrub as I left, and there was almost certainly more in the woods but I did not recognise them definitely. 

28 June 2003
Meadow Brown Butterflies (20+) were the commonest butterflies in the long grasses, Pyramid Orchids and Hardheads of McIntyres Field, Lancing. A handful each of very orangey Comma Butterflies (near Lancing Manor allotments), Small Whites and Red Admirals flew strongly.
A couple of Broad-bodied Chaser Dragonflies made a brief foray from shelter at Lancing Ring dewpond (TQ 181 065) where a Poplar Hawk-moth fluttered in the undergrowth.

Rosebay Willowherb
26 June 2003
Walking west along the bridle path from the foothills of Lancing College, the fields to my right (north) supported long grasses with Greater Knapweed and one Small Scabious flower noted. Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies (35+) were everywhere settling on the path in front of me, with a handful of Small White Butterflies over the cultivated field on my left, before I arrived at the Hoe Court Cottages junction.

Marbled White Butterfly that has struggled to emerge (Photograph by Andy Horton)The first Marbled White Butterflies (2) were seen in the chalk pit with a handful of Meadow Browns. Unusually, I walked the lower meadow trail south of Lancing Clump where the Greater Knapweed was flowering commonly. Marbled Whites were quickly seen and then I was able to see and photograph one struggling out of the long grass in the early evening, where it was very weak for a couple of minutes before attaining strength and fluttering off. For this reason I was reluctant to go blundering through the long grass and crushing the emerging butterflies, so although I saw 25+ Marbled White Butterflies, I am sure these numbers were just a fraction of the hundreds present. 

Small Skipper (Photograph by Andy Horton)Meadow Browns were present, as expected, but not more than a dozen were seen, and not noted as much as at least 30 Small Skippers that readily settled on the Greater Knapweed. An amorous pair of Common Blue Butterflies made a fleeting pass by. There were numerous small moths for the experts in these insects. 
More Images

How to distinguish the Common Skipper Thymelicus sylvestris from the Essex Skipper, T. lineola

18 June 2003
On a windy overcast day there were no damselflies and dragonflies at Lancing Ring dewpond (TQ 181 065). There was a small froglet on the muddy fringes. 
Butterflies were few in flight including a handful of Speckled Woods and a few Painted Ladies and Red Admirals noticed. 


Common Sorrel 

5 June 2003
ACommon Blue Butterfly nectared on Bird's Foot Trefoil on the lower meadowed slopes of Lancing Clump.

Photograph and Report by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature)

 Yellow Flag at the Dewpond (image)

23 May 2003
Sheila Wright and David (Sussex Bat Group) led the evening walk in the dark up Lancing Ring in overcast damp conditions, unfavourable for bats as their prey food of insects were not flying about. On the edge of the woodland the bat detector picked up the sound of two Pipistrelle Bats in flight. The bats emit noises from their echo location system, which cannot be heard by the human ear, but can be picked up and identified by the bat detector. These bats were seen flying across the path shortly afterwards. Later a Noctule Bat was also detected. (Pipistrelle Bats fly when the temperature exceeds 8° C. The night temperature fell to 7.9° C.)
Bat Conservation Trust:  Bat Information
UK Biodiversity Action Plan for the Pipistrelle

Full Report

11 May 2003
Brianne Reeve (Shoreham & District Ornithological Society) led the walk on Lancing Ring and meadows on behalf of the Friends of Lancing Ring. On a damp and overcast stratus day with intermittent showers, we were greeted by a screaming pair of Swifts, but otherwise it was more of an audio show, the birds calling from the bushes. An exception was a Yellowhammer on a Gorse bush. The full bird count was numerous, but the more vocal of the birds present were Whitethroats, Blackcaps, Lesser Whitethroats, with at least one Great Spotted Woodpecker, and others including Blue Tits, Robins, Chiffchaffs, Linnets, Greenfinches and Wrens.
Birds and the Law UK
Wild Flower Images for May

7 May 2003
The Early Purple Orchids made a fine show under the shade of Lancing Clump. The leaves of this plant in 99% of case were all spotted with black. There were scarcely any butterflies in the meadows though, just a handful of Small Tortoiseshells and Speckled Browns where it was shady. There were no damselflies or dragonflies to be seen above the murky dewpond. Very small Backswimmers swam near the surface and I saw one large tadpole. This was probably a frog tadpole that got larger, but without growing legs. 

Cowslip meadows (Photograph by Andy Horton)

A north facing meadow, next to the bridlepath from the road to Lancing College (just north of the Sussex Pad road) to Hoe Court Cottages (on the route west to Lancing Clump), was covered in flowering Cowslips. A dozen or so Jackdaws probed in the neighbouring grass only meadows. 

18 April 2003
Lancing Clump in the sunshine produced the following five species of butterflies:

Wild Daffodils near the Dewpond at Lancing Ring (Photograph by Andy Horton)Speckled Wood x 6
Small Tortoiseshell x 4
Comma x 1
White sp. x 3
Peacock x 4
Butterflies of Lancing

On the edge of grassland I caught sight of a Magpie trying to steal a Field Vole from the edge of a run into the scrubby hedge.

Peacock Butterfly (Photograph by Andy Horton)15 April 2003
On a pleasantly warm (18.5° C) calm day, on the paths up to Lancing Clump, Peacock Butterflies numbered at least 30, some in pristine condition, one battered with torn wings. Wild plants in flower included Wood Anemone, Lesser Celandine and Daffodils. 
Adur Butterflies


Wood Anemone
Anemone nemerosa

A small clump underneath a Beech tree on Lancing Clump
The small yellow flowers are Lesser Celandine

More Spring Photographs

5 April 2003
At midday we saw a large bird of prey flying east towards Lancing College. The bird was flying towards us at a height of about 100 metres. The immediate impression was of a powerful, bulky bird of prey, in size close to a female Peregrine. The bird had a relatively slow wing beat and was mainly gliding. It also appeared to preen once whilst gliding. In shape the bird resembled an over-grown Sparrowhawk.
The sun was high and it was not possible to see a great amount of plumage detail as we watched the bird for roughly 20 seconds. Through our binoculars the immediate impression was of an exceptionally light coloured bird. The only markings that were apparent were a very prominent thick black bar at the base of the underside of the tail, and a prominent black line running along the front edge of the wings from just behind the carpal join to the outer primary. The only other marking appeared to be a slight darkening towards the front of the birds belly. We could not make out any more plumage detail than that, and specifically we could not see any markings on the head, or further barring on the birds body, wings or tail. The bird was not wearing jesses which would indicate a falconer's escape.

Full Report
Honey Buzzards 2000

The first couple of Holly Blue Butterflies as well as an Orange Tip near the petanque court at Lancing Manor, and a single Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly and one Brimstone are seen in sunny Lancing. 

Butterflies of Lancing
Adur Butterflies

20 March 2003
A Brimstone Butterfly was seen near to Lancing Manor Allotments at the foot of McIntyres field.

2 March 2003
An escaped Eagle with jesses was seen over Cokeham Reed Beds, Sompting. It was mobbed by crows and seen heading for the downs. This bird was not a Harris Hawk identified from Cissbury later in the month.

Report by Roy Bratton via Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature
on the Adur Valley EForum
Lost & Found "Birds of Prey"
A Common Shrew, Sorex araneus, was discovered under the forcing cover of the rhubarb plants on our Lancing Manor allotment (south of the tree ringed wild flower meadow called McIntyres Field, which is part of Lancing Ring Nature Reserve). 
Shrew Page

3 January 2003
My first butterfly of the year was almost certainly a Small Tortoiseshell that fluttered out of the Hawthorn and Dogwood shrub on the south east corner of the Dewpond field on Lancing Clump.

December 2002

The Consultation draft of the 5 Year Management Plan has been published and issued to the Friends of Lancing Ring Committee.
The plan begins with a description of the site. Its present status, Geology, History, Landscape, Habitats, Recreation and Public Access, Current Management, Interpretation and Information & Resources.
Lancing Nature Newsletter (December 2002)

16 December 2002
It was a misty Lancing Clump in the late afternoon, eerily still and quiet, Ash and Beech wintery trees are festooned with glossy green Ivy, Hedera helix, and twining Old Man's Beard, Clematis vitalba, with the fungi disintegrating and being resorbed into the woodland soil beneath the leaf litter. 
On the way out past the dewpond (TQ 181 065), a flash of yellow and green tail feathers caught my eye. As the large Jackdaw sized bird flew towards the pond I could make out its appearance as a Green Woodpecker. Two species of woodpecker, Green, Picus viridis, and  Spotted, Dendrocopus sp., are known on the clump but not frequently seen.

Friends of Lancing Ring

10 November 2002
Lancing Clump was shrouded in a light mist, rain fell in intermittent bursts; the woodland floor covered with fallen leaves, the trees almost bare after the battering of recent gales. The atmosphere was heavy and sombre, the weight of the woodland canopy all around the feet, ready to begin the process of replenishing the soil. The recycling of dead timber was in evidence with the fruiting of several clumps of fungi, including the Jews Ear and the Shaggy and Golden Pholiotas.
Full Report and Photographs

Photograph by Ray Hamblett

  This mystery mushroom is Mycena inclina with a slender stem dark red-brown at the base, white above and with a pleasant soapy or sweet smell.
ID by Geoffrey Kibby, Senior Editor, Field Mycology
GB Checklist of Fungal Names

8 September 2002
Seven Wasp Spiders,Argiope bruennichi, were seen on my walk over Lancing Ring (TQ 180 065). Three specimens of the Autumn Lady's Tresses Orchid, Spiranthes spiralis,were discovered but on this relatively overcast day, there were few butterflies about, but they included a Small Copper Butterfly. A Green Bush Cricket was spotted as well. 

Lancing Nature Newsletter (September 2002)
Butterflies of Lancing 2001 Report

27 July 2002
Friends of Lancing Ring have arranged for expert Brianne Reeve of the Butterfly Conservation group to lead a walk over the reserve.

Photograph by Ray Hamblett

On a hot (25° C) and muggy (humidity 86%) day, the walk produced an exceptional variety of butterflies. In order of prevalence these were:

Small Skipper
Gatekeeper Butterfly (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)Meadow Brown
Marbled White
Holly Blue
Common Blue 
Red Admiral
Large White
Small White
Wall Brown
Speckled Wood 
Large Skipper
Small Copper
Chalkhill Blue #

Spider's Web, one of many in the meadows (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)The last two were rarities in the meadows. Both could have been overlooked by a single naturalist. Small red mites were present on some of the Meadow Browns. This is 13 confirmed species plus two possibles.

(# = hearsay reports)
The photograph is of many of the spider webs in amongst the long grasses.

6-Spot Burnet Moths were also common in the meadows

Horseshoe Vetch at Lancing Ring Chalkpit (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)
Butterfly Walk in August 2001
Butterflies of Lancing
Adur Butterflies
Shermanbury Butterflies
UK-LEPS Discussion Group (for Butterflies and Moths)

An Emperor Dragonfly patrolled the Lancing Ring dewpond (TQ 181 065), but this was to be expected. There were small damselflies just above the water surface as well.

24 July 2002
Scores of Common Blue Butterflies are disturbed at 8:00 am on McIntyres Field (TQ 188 061) near Lancing Clump.

Report by Ann White

11 July 2002
A fine day after a over a week of rain and overcast days brought a few butterflies out, included a handful of Marbled Whites, at least one Small Skipper, but the Meadow Browns were the most plentiful (25+) in the meadows.
On the dewpond, the dragonfly would not settle. I identified it before as a Broad-bodied Chaser, but it would not stay still enough for me to be sure. It grey Emperor (Photograph by Chris Webster) Click on to enlargewas darting around at great speed. I fancied it had a a lot of black on its thorax as well as black on the tip of its abdomen but I could not be sure.  A grey coloured Emperor Dragonfly hawked at low level over McIntyres Field (TQ 188 061)
European Dragonflies Picture Gallery
In the dewpond scores of front swimming Water Boatman could be seen in the shallows rising frequently to the surface, with the usual Pond Skaters on the surface.  In the wooded fringes, I noticed a colourful multi-spotted yellow 22 spot Ladybird, Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata.
Flowers noticeable were Pyramid Orchard and Lesser Acrimony, and small Puff Ball Mushrooms stood out from the crowd in the shorter grasses.

13 February 2002
Lancing Ring
A party of about 20 volunteers with the South Downs Conservation Board, led by Countryside Ranger Richard James, gathered for a scrub clearing session on the South-west slope of Lancing Ring. The task was to remove some of the Hawthorn which is seen to be invading the chalk grassland which itself has been colonised by Tor Grass, Brachypodium pinnatum. The SDCB hope to introduce grazing by Exmoor Ponies which have proved successful on downland at Firle near Lewes, East Sussex. 

Tor Grass Information Files:
Firle near Lewes
Sussex University Bulletin
Action Plan Link

Report by Ray Hamblett
Lancing Nature Newsletter (February 2002)

3 December 2001
The woodland floor of Lancing Ring is carpeted with fallen leaves under the Beech trees in this area giving a patchwork of autumnal colours from yellow to brown. Under the Ash trees elsewhere the leaf litter is far less colourful. It has
become quite muddy in places as walkers have trod the well used paths. The dewpond looks calm, it's aquatic plants looking yellowed as winter approaches.

Description by Ray Hamblett
Freshwater Life of North-western Europe Smart Group

18 October 2001
The small copse in the bit to the south-east of McIntyres Field, Lancing, was cleared of a few trees (TQ 189 158) and in this area a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew between the remaining branches, landing to peck at the tree with sharp drumming knocks.

20 September 2001
The Goldfinches captivate the outskirts of Lancing Clump with their twittering melody and when seen their pretty appearance stands out from the still lush vegetation.

31 August 2001
Wasp Spider, Argiope bruennichi, was found on Lancing Ring (TQ 180 065) by dog walkers Alex Wilkinson and his mother Vicky. It a large (bigger than a fifty pence piece) yellow, black and white spider in a big web..."
The discovery was verified by Dr Gerald Legg at the Booth Museum of Natural History.
Although fairly rare, these immigrants are gaining a foothold in Sussex and according to a spokesman at English Nature found at several locations around the area including Rye, Heathfield, and Hastings. They are normally to be found on land surrounding the Mediterranean they have spread northwards. They have established themselves in southern England since the 1990's.

Report by Ray Hamblett via the Friends of Lancing Ring Newsletter.

Hardhead (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)18 August 2001
Brianne Reeve led the Butterfly Conservation Society walk at Lancing Ring. The day was overcast and later it began to rain. On my cycle route on the path from the Coombes Road before the Chalk Pits to the Mill Road car park I spotted a Wall Brown Butterfly.
The route we followed was through Pat Barton's Wood to the Hay Meadow. There were few butterflies to be seen so Brianne Reeve mentioned some of the flowers in the field including the omnipresent Wild Parsley, Wild Carrot, Dogwood. Mugwort, Herb Basil, Red Bartsia, and the Hardhead (the smaller of the Knapweeds, more thistle-like superficially) Centaurea nigra.

Common Blue Butterfly (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)A Speckled Wood and a Gatekeeper Butterfly, both in good condition obliged by opening on the same bramble bush. In the long grass meadows, the day was overcast so the only way about a hundred each of small Common Blue Butterflies and Meadow Browns could be revealed was by flushing them out with the attendant risk of stepping on some of them, or more likely stepping on the moths at the bottom of the long grasses. 

Tip from Brianne Reeve: The Large White has a greater amount of black border on its wing than the Small White.

Brianne Reeve recommended the out of print pocket guide "Butterflies" by Martin A. Thomas in the RSNC issue. There is also a Hamlyn guide by the same author. 
Butterflies of Lancing
Butterfly Plants "Smart Group"

Burnet Moth (Photograph by Andy Horton)27 July 2001
I went up the the Lancing Ring chalk pits (east side) (TQ 187 063) to try and find out what burnet moths they were by counting the spots. This was difficult because these moths would not settle.  There were about 15 moths in a couple of small meadows to the east of the Chalk Pit, attracted to Greater Knapweed
page. It is probably the 6-spot Burnet Moth, Zygaena filipendulae
Pictures of the Burnet Moths
UK-LEPS Discussion Group (for Butterflies and Moths)

Clambering up the stems of the Ragwort, the caterpillars of the Cinnabar Moth, Tyria jacobaeae, spelt out a warning that they are distasteful with their bright yellow and black alternate bands. 
Caterpillar of the Cinnabar Moth (Photograph by Andy Horton)The butterfly estimates in the meadows were Meadow Browns (50+), Gatekeepers (20+), Large and Small Whites (10+), and smaller numbers of Small/Essex Skippers (10+), Holly Blues (10+), Marbled Whites (8+). 
No sign of the Chalkhill Butterflies. 

The attractive small plant the Harebell, Campanula rotundifolia, was especially noticeable on the steep chalk slope west of Lancing Clump.

Red Admiral (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)26 July 2001
On a scorching hot day, when by the afternoon the temperatures reached 26° C hundreds of various of butterflies were on the wing everywhere.
Lancing Ring was particularly covered with butterflies with Gatekeepers (200+), Large and Small Whites (100+), and smaller numbers of Small  Skippers (25+), Speckled Browns (25+) in the woods, Red Admirals (20+), Wall Browns (3+), Holly Blues (3+), Marbled Whites (3+). Meadow Browns (15+) were almost all to be found in the meadow called McIntyres Field north of Lancing Manor (TQ 188 061) and even amongst the long grasses on this south-facing slope they were outnumbered by the Gatekeeper Butterflies
A very small pure white butterfly or moth fluttered over a path and disappeared. It looked and fluttered more like a butterfly than a moth and was about the size of a Holly Blue Butterfly. It was almost certainly a pale version of the Holly Blue.
The Holly Blues were noted for a very clear white rim on the upperside and a dark blue underside matching the upperside, with just about four black dots on the underside, near the abdomen and shared between the wings with one on the top and three on the bottom wing, ascertained only in the fleeting moment the butterfly remained still. 
East of the chalk pit in the long grass, I am still uncertain of the identity of the day-flying moths,  one of the Burnets. They settled for long periods and flew away with their distinctive crimson underwings.

UK-LEPS Discussion Group (for Butterflies and Moths)

On the dewpond (TQ 181 065), Emperor Dragonflies mated in mid-air and at least one female Broad-bodied Chaser patrolled the reeds. 

12 July 2001
About a dozen of the stout-bodied dragonflies flew rapidly over the Lancing Ring dewpond (see the previous report). They flew much too quickly to ascertain any of the smaller details which is necessary to confirm identification. Both males and females chased each other in the breeze. However, a brown female dragonfly settled for about two seconds a couple of metres away and there was just time to spot at  least three large spots of bright orange on one side of the darker brown abdomen. This together with the brown bulky nature of the flattish abdomen, made to look more bulky by the brown on the base of the wings makes me identify this spectacular insect as the Broad-bodied ChaserLibellula depressa. The appearance of bright green Emperor Dragonfly, female, was comparatively dull and inactive. A Blue-tailed Damselfly tried to hide its then abdomen along an equally thin waterside reed. 
British Dragonfly Society Species Checklist

Lancing Ring Dewpond Photographs by Ray Hamblett)

An Emperor Dragonfly patrolled the Lancing Ring dewpond (TQ 181 065), but this was to be expected. However, there was also a much sturdier-looking dragonfly darting between the reeds.  The abdomen was a very pale blue, almost white, and stubby rather than elongate. This species was a male Broad-bodied ChaserLibellula depressa.

Report by Andy Horton
The grasses supported a cocoon, from the 6-spot Burnet Moths (by Ray Hamblett)UK Dragonflies Discussion Group
British Dragonfly Society
Freshwater Life of North-western Europe EForum

4 July 2001
Over a hundred Marbled White Butterflies were at Lancing Ring (TQ 180 065) meadows fluttering in the long grass amongst a cacophony of grasshoppers and crickets.

The grasses supported a cocoon, probably from one of the burnet moths.
Full Species List
Butterflies of Lancing
Lancing Nature & History - July 2001 Newsletter

Report by Ray Hamblett

Nature Notes by Ray Hamblett

14 April 2000
I made a mental note of some of the species we saw including a number of
Skylarks on the ground and airborne.

In flower I noticed Sweet Violets (Viola odorata), Blackthorn (Prunus
spinosa), Gorse (Ulex europaeusGermander Speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys) and Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria).

Close to flowering there were a few Early Purple Orchid, worried me a bit
that enthusiastic scrub clearance seems to have damaged one or two plants.
There were three species of butterfly, Brimstone,  a Brown (I'm not sure which
one) and a Peacock.

The main species of tree on the clump seem to be Beech, Sycamore, Hawthorn and Ash. There are also large drifts of Blackthorn on the slopes surrounding the ring. I'll have to wait for leaves to recognise the others.

I also noted the presence of Ivy (Hedera helix) which festoons many of the
trees, Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) is beginning to show growth as are the Nettles.

Lady's Bedstraw (Galium verum) was emerging, also distinctively was new
growth on Creeping Silver Weed (Potentilla anserina).

I looked out for Ajuga reptans but saw none.
I looked for fungi, wrong time of year of course, but found a form of Bracket fungus on fallen Beech trunk, nothing special I suppose.

Sunday  23 April 2000
Took a walk up woodland path behind Lancing Leisure Centre. Walking amongst the trunks of Horse Chestnut, Sycamore, Birch and Beech, the emerging canopy of leaves is beginning to darken the woodland floor.
The well-trodden pathway meanders through herbaceous ground cover. Of
particular note are the Lords and Ladies, or Cuckoo Pint (Arum maculatum).
Newly sprouted thickets of Nettle jostle with Cow Parsley for the available

On a moss coated fallen trunk Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) has found a niche. Twinning through twiggy branches, Old Man's Beard (Clematis vitalba) and Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum). Approaching the ancient trackway I notice the bright green heart shaped leaves of Black Bryony (Tamus communis).
We turned right at the top to look at Hoe Court Cottages.
The view south here looks over Shoreham Airport, the adjoining damp meadows
and the town of Lancing.

One can imagine travellers in ancient times looking over the sea which met
the wide estuary of the River Adur close to the foot of the hill on which we
stood. Returning to the path leading to Lancing Ring we ascended the gentle hill, the air here is filled with sound of birdsong from Blackbirds, Blue Tits, a
Great Tit, a Chiffchaff and a pair of Robins who followed us some way up
the path. Near the top the distinctive sound of a Woodpecker from a nearby
standing dead tree. As it climbed to the top I was able to identify it as a
Great Spotted Woodpecker by it's black and white plumage.

High in the air I catch sight of a Kestrel. We reached the site of the old chalk pit and the adjacent site of a Post Windmill. In the grass we spotted clumps of Cowslip (Primula veris) begining to flower. A Greenfinch flies out from a clump of Hawthorn. We returned via the mowed field which in the summer becomes a rich sward of meadow flowers. As we entered it a pair of Goldfinch swoop out of trees and land somewhere on the open ground, no doubt finding the abundant Dandelion flowers shedding some of it seed.

Mill Hill (Link)

History of Lancing (Ray Hamblett)

Lancing Ring

Lancing Ring & Mill Hill Information 1 (requires Acrobat Reader)
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