Link to Adur Valley Nature Notes 2003
Shore Crabs hide underneath the wooden groynes
Link to the Adur Levels habitats page

Link to the Adur tidal reaches habitats web page

Link to the chalkhill Downs habitats pages

Link to Town & Gardens habitats page

Link to the Sea and Seashore habitats page



 Coastal Fringe
 Chalk Downs
 Intertidal (Seashore)
 River Adur Estuary
 River Adur Flood Plain
 Sea (off Sussex)
 Town & Gardens
 Widewater Lagoon
 Lancing Beach



Adur Valley Wildlife

   Seashore: Southwick to Worthing, including Shoreham-by-Sea and Lancing

Shoreham Beach looking east (Photograph by Andy Horton)
In the entrance to Shoreham Harbour, there are artificial rocky* shores at Kingston Beach near the Lighthouse, and at the Old Fort beach on the other side of the River Adur(* Larvikite, a type of syenite). These new rock groynes have now been extended the full length of Shoreham Beach and as far as Lancing Beach Green (May 2003).
Prawn, Palaemon serratus (Photograph by Andy Horton)

Edible Prawn


EMail for Wildlife Reports

EMail Address for sending in wildlife reports from the lower Adur valley
Only a selection will be included and only reports with the name of the reporter


23 November 2004
A low 1.3 metre tide revealed a small expanse of sand on Shoreham beach and the area of beach by Widewater Lagoon. A few, at least three at a time, Sanderlings were feeding, repeatedly stabbing their small black beaks into the sand or on top of the sand for snippets. On the fine shingle (gravel), at least eight Turnstones were running around, their camouflage making them blend in with the background, but their whereabouts were given away as they moved. 

31 August 2004
The sand and rock shore at a low spring tide opposite Brooklands Boating Lake produced a few interesting critters under rocks. Another Vernal Swimming Crab, Liocarcinus vernalis, was discovered, scampering away and then burying itself rapidly and Daisy Anemones Cereus pedunculatus, in white and grey with a strange undulating appearance because of its position in a crevice, and a large Velvet Swimming Crab, Necora puber, were noteworthy. Fish included a few 5-Bearded Rocklings, Ciliata mustela

Liocarcinus vernalis

The more common crustaceans included small Common Hermit Crabs, Pagurus bernhardus, and Squat Lobsters, Galathea squamifera, a handful of small Long-legged Spider Crabs, Macropodia rostrata, and both species of Porcelain Crabs.
BMLSS: Crabs

8 August 2004
A woman is stung by a Weever Fish, Echiichthys vipera, whilst bathing off Shoreham Beach.
Beware of the Weever

1 August 2004
The beach between Worthing and Lancing seems an unpromising area for rockpooling but it consistently provides a variety of some of the less usual small fish and crabs found between the tides. Katherine Hamblett and Tacita French discovered a young first year Worm Pipefish, Nerophis lumbriciformis, which is unusual this far east up the English Channel. 
Liocarcinus vernalis
Liocarcinus arcuatus

There were unusual crabs as well as more common crustaceans like small Common Hermit Crabs, Pagurus bernhardus, and Squat Lobsters, Galathea squamifera. The itinerary of discoveries on the low spring tide can be found on the bucket page
BMLSS: Crabs
Sea Anemones on this shore included at least a handful seen of Daisy Anemones Cereus pedunculatus, (with mauve/purple columns), and Snakelocks Anemones  Anemonia viridis, which both reach their most easterly shore distribution at Lancing.
BMLSS: Sea Anemones
Halfbricking: Bucket of Critters

29 July 2004
In the pool of water left by the receding tide underneath the middle groyne on Kingston Beach, a Snakelocks Anemone, Anemonia viridis, expanded its stinging tentacles. This anemone is unusual on this shore and reaches its easterly point of distribution on the northern coast of the English Channel at Shoreham. The pools also contained at least half a dozen small first year Corkwing Wrasse, Symphodus melops, which are a month earlier than usual between the tides. 
BMLSS Sea Anemones

11 July 2004
Shoreham Port Open Day
The Fish Festival display included a Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus, caught off Sussex the previous day, with a handful of other fish including Bass, two Stingrays, a Nursehound, Atlantic Eels, Corkwing Wrasse, Undulate Rays, one large Plaice and some invertebrate life with crustaceans that included Lobsters, Spider Crabs, Velvet Swimming Crabs, Common Hermit Crabs, Shore Crabs and molluscs including live Scallops

The Triggerfish (photographed above) swam around occasionally rising to the surface and expelling water from its mouth. It did not appear to be in discomfort and looked in a healthy condition.

At just after nine in the morning a single Peregrine Falcon flew around the Power Station Chimney and there were hundreds of Moon Jellyfish, Aurelia aurita, in the canal section of the harbour. 

1 July 2004
Although a batch of low tides started today, the excessive amount of seaweed washed up on the shingle after the recent gales does not make rockpooling or end of season shrimping an attractive prospect.

5 June 2004
Venue: Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea
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 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. 

The fossil is part of a test (internal shell) of a sea urchin formed about 85 million years ago. The long club-like 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)

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

Identification of the crab (left) by Guido Rappé (Belgium) 
Identification of the crab (right) by by Richard Lord (Guernsey)
and others on the Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group
British Marine Life Study Society

1 June 2004
Spider Crabs (the female discovered on the beach 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. It was missing two of its legs. 
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

31 May 2004
On Southwick beach a shrimp fisherman (push-netting) reported a juvenile Thornback Ray, Raja clavata, in his four foot net. There were scarcely a dozen edible-sized Brown Shrimps though. 
BMLSS Sharks and Rays

May 2004
A bloom of plankton, probably Phaeocystis pouchetti, has turned the River Adur almost orange and considerably reduced visibility in the enriched sea. The colonies of this flagellate organism Phaeocystis can be seen in the water at over 1 mm long and plankton will be continuous for miles of sea water. The sea is then by various local terms like Slobweed or Baccy Water because of its appearance. When the plankton dies it can create hypoxic conditions and generally the inshore fauna is diminished in quantity and variety. 

10 May 2004
I've recently seen two examples of a creature washed up on Shoreham Beach that I never seen before, and can't find in my book of seaside flora and fauna. I presume it's a type of jellyfish. Can you identify it please?

It's like the head of an old-fashioned string floor mop. The diameter of the 'mop' head is about 25 cm. The densely packed 'strings' are the thickness of an earthworm and about 10 cm long each from the centre of the 'mop'.  The colour is a very pretty pale coral pink and white.   Have you any ideas?  It is rare?

Squid eggs (Photograph by Andy Horton)
Eggs of squids are frequently washed up on the shore in late spring

The most recent one I saw was on the Ferry Road beach (just west of the beach directly opposite Ferry Road) on the sand at low tide.

Report by Marilyn Crowch (Shoreham Beach)
    Link to "Seashore" Wildlife Reports 2003


    11 October 2003 
    Shoreham Fish Festival (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)The SHOREHAM FISH FESTIVAL on Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, was attended by 4,000 people if the sunshine as the high six metre spring tide filled the river  just before 1:00 pm. The British Marine Life Study Society held an aquarium display and despite technical problems with a very high plankton content in the water (which meant the large wrasse could not be displayed) the exhibits were well received by the younger age group.
    Picture Gallery

    5 August 2003
    It was the hottest day of the new millennium when the temperature reached 30.6° C at 5:54 pm with a gentle breeze. Humidity fell to 39% so it was quite pleasant outside.

    Not surprising with the warm weather, many people who are not at work and children on holiday made their way to the beach where the estimated sea temperature was 19° C, possibly rising to 21° C inshore over sand. Weever Fish are around and there were several reports of people being stung by this fish that lives in the sand with its venomous black dorsal fin sticking above the surface on which the bather may have the misfortune to step on.

    After being sting by large Weevers the pain is described as excruciating for the first two hours after which it subsides and rarely causes permanent injury. The pain can be relieved by immersing the foot in hot water at 40° C. This fish is common on sandy coasts all around Britain. 

    Report by Jamie Hailstone (Shoreham Herald) with commentary by Andy Horton.
    Beware of the Weever Fish

    11 June 2003
    Herring Gulls, adults and immature birds were paddling at the water's edge at low tide whilst the Great Black-backed Gulls remained stationery. There seems more of these large Great Black-backed Gulls staying around for the summer this year. 

    4 June 2003
    Small Weever fish were discovered in the shrimp net (push-net) haul in the sea off Widewater beach. Weever fish are silvery with a black venomous fin and spines. The can impart a nasty sting on the unwary and bare foot paddler over the sandy shallows.

    Report by Russell
    Beware of the Weever page

    3 June 2003
    The famous Boar Fish, Capros aper, died after its aquarium sprung a leak in the middle of the night. (It was caught in November 2002).

    31 May 2003
    Shoreham bathed in a heat wave up to 24° C for the opening of the Adur Festival and Adur World Oceans Day 2003 on Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea. About 3000 people attended the event that was steady and busy throughout. 
    Exhibits included live fish and lobster in aquaria, colouring and badge-making, whales and dolphins, birds, shrimps, fish-tasting, touch-table, Shoreham shingle beach flora and undersea colour photographs and videos. 

    Len Nevell was in charge of the Living Animals display including live Lobsters

    A special thanks to all the participants, especially Len Nevell (British Marine Life Study Society) and Steve Trewhella (Marine Conservation Society). The inflated dolphin was  provided by Steve Savage (Sea Watch Foundation). 

    Several groups had special exhibitions including the:

    British Marine Life Study Society including Shorewatch (four exhibits)
    West Sussex County Council Countryside Unit
    Sea Watch Foundation (for Whales & Dolphins)
    Sussex Sea Fisheries District Committee
    SeaSearch (Undersea Biological Recording)
    Shoreham & District Ornithological Society
    Sussex Ornithological Society

    Peter Talbot-Elsden with the Shrimping Table was a new event for this year

    Adur World Oceans Day 2003
    10:00 am - 4:00 pm
    Popular Information File on Adur World Oceans Day 2003
    Acrobat Information File on Adur World Oceans Day 2003

    5 November 2002
    Collecting a few rocks for aquarium props in fading light, a moonless evening under torchlight, there were dozens of Squat Lobsters, Galathea squamifera, and at least one red-eyed Velvet Swimming Crab, Necora puber. I thought that I picked up two, but the following day, I noticed that the crab had pale blue eyes and this I now think may be a different crab altogether,  Liocarcinus arcuatus, the Arch-fronted Swimming Crab which I have never discovered before, nor have I heard reported before from the shore. The identity of this crab has been confirmed by Dr. Reindert Nijland.

    This small specimen of this crab (carapace width 25 mm) had a heavy carpus on both chelae, a rough carapace in chocolate brown, swimming legs that were pointed, slower moving than Necora, with also are pronounced creamy white underside, and at dusk that was only its fractionally different movement that made it stand out from the Shore Crab. There were no "teeth" between the eyes, and the carapace was in a straight line between the eyes, with red antennae and antennules.
    BMLSS Intertidal Crabs
    Lancing Beach

    2 November 2002
    The capture on rod and line by Peter Weight (Lancing) of a Boar Fish, Capros aper, from Hove beach is the very first record of this fish caught from the shore off Sussex. The books say that this fish lives in depths of over 100 metres and there are no seas of this depth on the English side of the English Channel

    Boar Fish (Photograph by Andy Horton)This pretty little red and silver rhomboidal fish about 55 mm long, excluding its caudal fin, large eye and large protractile mouth, with a spiky first dorsal and vibrating second dorsal and second anal fins (vibrating like the dorsal fin of a pipefish). Although this fish is rarely caught, it is abundant in deepish water (on the edge of the continental shelf in the western approaches of the English Channel) and it is just that normal fishing methods do not capture this small fish. All  records and especially all live records from the shore or on dives, and all Sussex records are newsworthy. 
    This fish is thriving in the BMLSS private aquarium (Shoreham-by-Sea). This fish is rarely on display in British Public Aquaria and the only known display of this fish was for several years at Mevagissey Harbour Aquarium
    Previous Sussex Record of a Boar Fish
    Previous Report from the Channel Islands
    BMLSS Boar Fish

    Spider Crab on Shoreham beach (Photograph by Andy Horton)11 June 2002
    The presence of Spiny Spider Crabs, Maja squinado, underneath the wooden groynes on Shoreham beach (TQ 216 047), south of Weald Dyke (road), is a notable aspect of the wildlife fauna of Shoreham and little known. Although it is the smaller crabs that are found at low tide, these are still the biggest animals found between the tides. 
    In captivity, a female Spiny Spider Crab moulted twice before 30 June 2002

    British Marine Life Study Society
    BMLSS Rockpooling
    Wet Thumb (Marine Aquariology)

    1 June 2002
    A huge one metre in diameter jellyfish with a humped appearance was discovered washed up on Shoreham beach due of south of Coronation Green. This is the species known by several common names: Barrel Jellyfish, Football Jellyfish, Root-mouthed Jellyfish, and with the scientific name of Rhizostoma octopus. This is an unusual sighting off the Sussex coast, but this year tens of thousands have been seen off the coast of Cornwall, with many more washed up on the coast of Devon and Dorset. 

    Report by Martin Ward at Adur World Oceans Day
    Adur Nature Notes (Spring 2002) for Shoreham Beach Nature Reports
    Other Reports
    BMLSS Jellyfish

    1 June 2002
    Adur WORLD OCEANS DAY Exhibition at Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea.

    Photograph by Ray HamblettAdur was one of the leaders in the United Kingdom when it presented an Exhibition celebrating the official World Oceans Day. The event took place on Saturday 1 June 2002 in Shoreham-by-Sea, on Coronation Green (TQ 216050), adjacent to the footbridge over the River Adur, with the start of the Adur Festival.


    Adur World Oceans Day Picture Portfolio 2002 (by Ray Hamblett)
    Adur World Oceans Day 2002   Programme of Events

    Adur World Oceans Day 2001 Report
    Adur World Oceans Day Picture Portfolio
    World Oceans Day Smart Group

    25 September 2001
    Hundreds of Dogwhelks, Nucella lapillus, have colonised the newish boulder sea defences on Southwick Beach. One dirty white specimen was either attacking a Limpet or the Acorn Barnacles that completed covered the limpet shell. 

    20 August 2001
    The long spring tide went out below Chart Datum on Kingston beach and there was a meal of large prawns Paleamon serratus. The presence of a dozen very small Common Starfish, Asterias rubens, was unusual for this particular shore. There was an interesting mixture of typical fish and invertebrate intertidal life, with hundreds of very small (30 - 55 mm) first year Bullheads.
    Full Report

    15 April 2001
    I received a report via the RSPCA of three young sharks washed up on the beach at either Lancing or Worthing. A size was not mentioned. I assume these are Lesser-spotted Dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula, which are so commonly washed ashore dead in all months of the year that they scarcely warrant a special mention. The specimen above was discovered intact near the Old Fort a couple of months ago, before it had been spotted by the gulls that scavenge along the strandline.

    8 February 2001

    Empty egg cases of the Thornback Ray (left) and Dogfish (right) are found washed up on the strandline by Andy Horton and Ray Hamblett.
    Mermaid's Purse (BMLSS Information)

    1 August 2000
    Snakelocks Anemone (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)A most unusual appearance on Kingston Beach was a solitary  Snakelocks Anemone, which reach their most easterly point of distribution up the English Channel (northern coast) at Worthing, with an occasional stragglers on the shore at Shoreham, and 
    almost entirely absent (one record only in 100+ visits) from Brighton

    1 August 2000
    The Marine Wildlife Forum of the NE Atlantic commences.

    Dogfish (Photograph by Andy Horton)

    Moon Jellyfish (Photograph by Andy Horton)May 1999 
    Moon Jellyfish, Aurelia aurita, swarming in thousands in Shoreham Harbour, Sussex. This jellyfish is common and widespread throughout the oceans of the world and is common all around the coast of Britain. It would not deserve a special comment if they had been recorded regularly at this location before - they had been for about 4 years, but not in so many numbers. The largest specimens reached 25 cm in diameter. In some specimens the four rounded pinkish masses, which are the gonads could be seen. An occasional specimen had 6 rings.

    Rockpooling Page
    Zonation on the Shore

    Longshore Drift

    Longshore drift occurs as a result of wave action. Propelled by the dominant south-west winds1 the wave (the swash) hits the shingle beach and moves the pebbles obliquely up the shore and the backwash returns the pebble at right-angles, the following waves repeating the process so that the pebbles gradually move along the shore. The larger pebbles are to be found higher up the beach as the swash is more powerful than the backwash. On Shoreham Beach the Environmental Agency interfere with the natural process by moving large amounts of shingle back to where they were washed away from, to protect the housing developments on the foreshore. 

    1The prevailing winds over Britain are from the south-west. These propel the waves on to the shore on both sides of the English Channel. However, on other coasts the prevailing winds blow out to the sea and the dominant waves that crash on to the shore come from other directions, e.g. from the north-east on the North Sea coasts, causing longshore drift from north to south.

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