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Adur Nature Notes 2004

March 2004


Reports by Andy Horton unless credited to other observers
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Blenny (small rock pool fish) Photograph by Andy Horton



 31 March 2004
A jaded Peacock Butterfly settled for two minutes in my North Farm Road, Lancing garden (TQ 186 044). This was the first of the year for this species. 
Report by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature) on UK-Leps (Yahoo Group)
Lancing Butterflies

I saw my first Small White Butterfly of the year, south-east of the Toll Bridge, in the sunshine by the eroded chalk riverbank and my first bright yellow Brimstone Butterfly at Cuckoo's Corner. The Small Tortoiseshells were more a deep orange today by the Toll Bridge and one at Cuckoo's Corner.
Adur Levels 2004
30 March 2004
Over fifty lizards skittered up the extensive crumbling flint walls of the Old Fort (Shoreham Beach) (TQ 234 046) with dexterity, very quickly (too quickly to photograph) after basking in the warmth of the morning sun. 

I think the lizards seen at the Old Fort are the Common (or Viviparous) Lizard, Zootoca vivipara

Postscript:  these lizards have now been definitely identified as the Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis.

It appears that they area different species of lizard that inhabits the flint walls south-east of the Toll Bridge at Old Shoreham. 
Adur Coastal Fringe 2004

About 40 Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies settled on the bare chalk south-east of the Toll Bridge and these butterflies had  a tendency towards redness in colour. 
Adur Butterfly List 2004

29 March 2004
A Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly with a reddish hue was my first of the year seen on the Childing Pink patch of Silver Sands, Shoreham Beach east. This is likely to be an immigrant and confirms my suspicion that the reddish hued specimens are either immigrants or old butterflies emerging from hibernation, or both. 
At least three Wheatears seemed to have just flown in by the Old Fort, near the western arm of Shoreham Harbour entrance at the far eastern end of Shoreham beach. These attractive birds were well camouflaged against the shingle but could be seen clearly through the binoculars when standing on posts and, of course, they were immediately recognisable by their white rear when they flew off.
At least two lizards in the grass by the Old Fort seemed to have a slight pale greenish tinge to their head and underside, were very darkly patterned with black on brown, about 60 mm long (excluding the long tail) and a total length estimated at 140 mm. I had a close look without being conversant with the identifying features. I have always thought that these lizards were the Common (or Viviparous) Lizard, Zootoca vivipara. However, their markings seem to match the photographs of the European Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis. The legs in the Old Fort specimens were speckled with black. However, these species are very similar to each other. 

Postscript:  these lizards have now been definitely identified as the Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis.


Adur Coastal Fringe 2004

28 March 2004
It had been so long since I had seen a Rook close-up that I was beginning to think that I could not tell them apart from Crows. So it was to my surprise and astonishment when one turned up on the small tree in the back garden of 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), Shoreham-by-Sea, (TQ  219 063) to feed on scraps at about 5:00 pm BST. It did so eagerly with its distinctive long thin silver beak and face, gobbling up three pieces of diced bread, before being chased off by what looked like a Crow.
Town & Gardens 2004

26 March 2004
A occasional burst of laughter from a Green Woodpecker came from somewhere in the budding woodland canopy near Lancing Manor allotments. Nearby the first Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly of the year basked in the sunshine.

Quite the most magnificent bird I have ever seen in the Adur area, a pale fawnish-brown Barn Owl flew majestically in a straight line above the Ricardo test track opposite the Sussex Pad Hotel (at the southern end of the Coombes Road) and then veered into the cover of the trees. The bird flew at 4:45 pm in bright sunshine so the view was far from fleeting. I was struck by the size of this bird as it appeared much bigger than expected, especially its head which was looking in my direction.
January Report
Adur Levels 2004

24 March 2004
At least three Great Crested Grebes were diving in the calm sea off the coast of Shoreham, Lancing and later around midday off Worthing. Two of  these diving birds came close in to the shore and their white necks and the beginnings of a rudimentary crest could be seen. This grebe is a regular winter visitor but this is the first time I have positively observed them.
Marine Life (Sussex) 2004

23 March 2004
A Red Fox was caught in my bicycle lights (its eyes reflected the beam of light) as it ventured into the middle of Gordon Road, Shoreham (north of the railway station) at 11:25 pm. It looked like a young Fox and under the street lamps in appeared a light golden colour rather than the usual dark appearance, as it decided to reverse in its tracks and run down the twitten between the terraced houses on the north side of the road from where it had appeared. A different Fox had seen before in exactly the same area in 2002
Town & Gardens 200422 March 2004
The first Brimstone Butterfly of the year fluttered in my Shermanbury garden in the morning.
The Lapwings have flown from the lower Adur estuary and are now looking for breeding areas further inland, e.g. in the lowland fields near Shermanbury, where some breeding areas are disturbed by grazing cattle.

Report by Allen Pollard via the UK-Leps EForum
Upper Adur East (Shermanbury area) Nature Pages
A Brimstone Butterfly flew past my head near Lancing Station in the morning. (TQ 182 043) Adur Butterflies

19-20 March 2004
The changeable nature of the local weather is apparent with Fresh Gale Force 8 winds from the SSW, gusting to Force 9 and rain. 
 An unexpected bird visitor to my south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044) in the morning was  a Chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita. It came within 1.5 metres of the kitchen window during a quick reconnaissance of the garden. The resemblance to a Willow Warbler gives me a small reservation over its identity. I would give it a 90% certainty value. 

17 March 2004
I was pleased to learn that recent attempts to film a Barn Owl in a specially constructed nest box at a site near the Cokeham Reed Beds (west Lancing) have been successful. The box has been placed at the top of a pole about 3.5 metres high and a camera relay installed. A short recording was made in low light as the Barn Owl inspected the box for about two minutes before departing. Two pairs of Great Spotted Woodpeckers chased their partners around the tree tops opposite Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes road. They made a tremendous commotion as they performed their antics, with a rattling trill-like call that was repeated at regular intervals. At times it seemed if two males were competing over one female and at another time, it seemed that there were two separate pairs.
Full Report

On the Adur mud flats south of the Toll Bridge at Old Shoreham, the usual gulls and other birds of two days ago were present with a one in a thousand Mediterranean Gull, Larus melanocephalus,  distinguished by the experienced birdwatcher and pointed out to me through the telescope by Stanley Allen (Shoreham District Ornithological Society). It is the white tail feathers (complete absence of black on the tail area)  that is the distinguishing feature when compared to a Black-headed Gull.

Adur Estuary 2004

16 March 2004
Eleven Wheatears and two Black Redstarts (one a male) were seen on the shingle beach just west of Beach Green, Shoreham Beach between 4.15 - 4.45 pm.

Report by Richard Fairbank (Shoreham Beach) on the Sussex Birds Yahoo Group
15 March 2004
The reddish-brown neck of the Little Grebe (Dabchick), Tachybaptus ruficollis, was particularly clear on the one bird repeatedly diving underneath the Footbridge on a low neap tide at 10:00 am. This red neck is meant to be the summer plumage.
Adur Estuary 2004

14 March 2004
Three white rumped deer were spotted in the fields overlooked by Lancing College and close to Ricardo's test strip (east of the Coombes road at its traffic lights junction with the A27) at around 10:00 am. Roe Deer are frequently seen around the Adur Levels and these fitted the book description.

13 March 2004
Signs of spring were apparent in a sunny 10° C. Sweet Violets, Viola odorata, were in full flower on several areas of Lancing Clump and the air was filled with bird song. In the open, a Skylark, Alauda arvensis, held centre stage, whilst in the woodland the noisy Great Tits had command.

Lancing Ring 2004
Adur Wild Flower List (New web page by Ray Hamblett)12 March 2004
As the rain tipped down in the early evening (before the light faded) the Peregrine Falcon was perched on one of the ledges on the Shoreham Harbour Power Station chimney for a few minutes, 
Report by Peter Talbot-Elsden (Southwick)
Urban Wildlife Webring10 March 2004
It will come as no surprise to rockpoolers that marine life is coming in through the pipeline from the sea to Widewater Lagoon, the first spores of seaweeds growing on the rocks, was a brown species prevalent in Shoreham harbour. It is not the most attractive of algae and it readily breaks off into loose tufts. I think this group of brown seaweeds is Maiden's Hair, Ectocarpus sp. and similar species which are difficult for non-specialists to identify to species level. This seaweed may be able to tolerate salinity lower than full strength sea water as it will sometimes be found in tidal pools.
The lagoon now appears to be full strength  sea water at a salinity of 35 (ppt). Widewater Lagoon may now no longer be regarded as brackish but more like a fully saline  water inlet like the canal section of Shoreham harbour. The water cannot flow out by a direct route but the lagoon bottom is porous or has holes where the water runs out rapidly when in flood. 
7 March 2004The industrious Magpies have built an upright doughnut shaped structure about 50 cm (18 inches) diameter in the Hawthorn tree at the bottom of my south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044). A clap of thunder and lightning was followed by hail and it left Drove Crescent in Portslade covered in hailstones like a dusting of snow.

22 Spot Ladybird (Photograph by Ray Hamblett) 6 March 2004In the foliage and soil a few creatures were active in my south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044), the most colourful was a 22 spot Ladybird, Psyllobora 22-punctata, a mere 4 mm long. Lancing Beetles

5 March 2004A single Long-tailed Tit, Aegithalos caudatus, called from the branches of the Hawthorn early in the afternoon in my south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044).

4 March 2004female Blackcap, Sylvia atricapilla, with her light brown head was seen in my south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044) in the morning. This follows the recent sighting on 29 February 2004 of a male. 

Lancing Nature Pages (by Ray Hamblett)

2 March 2004I turned toward the wheelbarrow and nudged it slightly, from under the front a Painted Lady Butterfly fluttered away in my south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044). It was tantalisingly quick but long enough to see the colouring.

Report by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature) on 
Lancing Nature Notes and on UK-Leps (Yahoo Group)
Lancing Butterflies (New Web Site by Ray Hamblett)

Adur Butterflies

Slavonian Grebe, Podiceps auritus, was seen in summer plumage off the Church of the Good Shepherd on Shoreham Beach in the afternoon.

Report by Stanley Allen on Sussex Ornithological Society News

1 March 2004
The Peregrine Falcon has just landed on the Shoreham Harbour Power Station chimney, near the nest box, at 3:54 pm.

Report by Peter Talbot-Elsden (Southwick)
A Common Buzzard was identified flying over the eastern ridge (Thundersbarrow) as viewed from Mill Hill, with 140 Lapwings flying around as well as a flock of 33 Fieldfares, and these thrushes were about fifty in total. A Peregrine Falcon was seen chasing Stock Doves near Truleigh Hill.  Three Water Rails, Rallus aquaticus, were clearly seen as they ran across a duckweed covered stream at the Cokeham Reed Beds, west Lancing. They appeared to be two male birds competing for the affections of a female. These shy secretive birds are rarely seen, more often their presence is deduced from their unusual calls.
Report by Roy & June Bratton via Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature) on 
A diminutive Goldcrest, Regulus regulus, flitted through the Viburnum bodnantense shrub in my south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044) before disappearing over the fence. I first saw the movement of the small bird and assumed it to be a Wren, but it is a faster moving bird. Once a good look was obtained the distinctive yellow flash on the head confirmed it as the female of the species.  Adur Levels 2004

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

Chalk Downs 2004

Adur Valley Biodiversity Network  (forum)

MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and Downs

Urban Wildlife Webring


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

The old wildlife reports according to habitat will be archived. 
World Oceans Day

    The Shoreham-by-Sea web site started on 1 January 1997.
    Webmaster: Andy Horton.

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Blenny (small rock pool fish)Beadlet Anemones (shore species)