to Lancing Beach 2005 Reports
There were not many birds either, just one Crow picking at the exposed rocks.
After the morning gales, but still with a strong Breeze (Force 6) three Crows were dropping shellfish (molluscs, probably mussels) from a height on to On Lancing Beach Green beach below, one dropping their prey on to the new rock sea defences in an attempt to break open the shells.
It seemed if the dragonfly flew in off the sea as the flight was a rapid south to north over a narrow area of beach shingle near Lancing sailing Club (between Beach Green, Lancing, and Widewater).
Hawker, Aeshna cyanea, had caught
a Small White Butterfly
and flew around for about a minute until it chose the first place of rest
on the temporary fencing erected by the sea defence contractors. Mandibles
crunching away, it consumed its butterfly prey just like a hungry crab
and after two minutes the prey had been eaten and the dragonfly flew northwards.
Of course, the Southern Hawker
could have just visited the beach area to prey on the numerous Small
White Butterflies, with caterpillars that
feed on the Sea Kale.
Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies
An immigrant Painted Lady Butterfly was resting nearby.
Squid eggs washed up on Lancing beach seem to occur occasionally every year and a clump stranded on the sand was no exception. Uncovered by the low spring tide, the rocks were covered in green Enteromorpha-type weed and there was hardly any fauna of note, just one 5-Bearded Rockling, Ciliata mustela.
The high spring tides had pushed five Turnstones on to the ridge of shingle on Lancing Beach (near Brooklands) but they were even harder to distinguish than the Ringed Plovers in the same place on 21 April 2004. There were dozens of whelk balls (disused egg cases of the Common Whelk) on the strandline where the Turnstones dipped over the ridge to feed. One bird was actually observed turning over a pebble as befits its common name. There were at least fifty Crows on Lancing Beach Green and the adjacent shingle beach.
The high spring tides had pushed the Ringed Plover on to the ridge of shingle on Lancing Beach (near Brooklands) but you will have to look carefully at the photograph on the left to distinguish the well camouflaged little bird.
The low spring tide uncovered the rocks amongst the sand. There was nothing special of note, although the Snakelocks Anemones, Anemonia viridis, were still to be found, with hundreds of the sea anemone Sagartia troglodytes attached to rocks beneath the sand, a single small Short-legged Spider Crab, Eurynome aspera, and just one elongated Butterfish, Pholis gunnellus.
A few shrimps were caught in the shrimp push-net.
There were at least three large grebes, on the surface and diving under the water off the coast of Shoreham and then off Lancing, by Widewater. The first diving bird was too far out and only its outline could be seen through binoculars. Further west at Lancing the two birds were much closer inshore and frequently diving under the sea and for at least 50% of the time they were under water. It was then the white neck could be clearly seen as well as the length of the beak. Unfortunately, I failed initially to make precise observations, but I am still confident that these three birds were Great Crested Grebes, in winter plumage but both birds seemed to have the beginnings of a rudimentary crest. This is my first observation of a bird I am unfamiliar with.
Marine Life (Sussex)
Lancing Beach (by Ray Hamblett)
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