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Valley and Flood Plain from of the River Adur


River Adur tidal reaches 


Sussex downland on both sides of the River Adur,
including Mill Hill Nature Reserve


Extensive urban area including the coastal towns of Shoreham, Southwick and Lancing, and the inland town of Steyning and countryside villages


Rich marine, seashore, shingle beach and lagoon habitats

Fungi of Lancing
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Autumn 2004 
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Spring Dyke next to the Miller's
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Waterworks Road
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Slonk Hill and 
Road Embankment
Widewater Lagoon 2004



March 2005

* If the grid references are not given they could be found on the 
Adur Wildlife database on the Adur eForum


Reports by Andy Horton from personal observation unless otherwise indicated
Clicking on the new thumbnail-style images will reveal a larger photograph

Photograph by Andy Horton


31 March 2005
The pebble beach by the Old Fort contained the usual prevalancy of Whelk egg cases, abundant on the strandline all along the coast, mollusc shells and just one badly damaged Mermaid's Purse. In its dry state it measured 62 mm long (excluding the horns) and it was probably the egg case of the Undulate Ray, Raja undulata, although a bit on the small side for this species. (It lacked the square appearance of the egg case of the Thornback Ray egg purses, Raja clavata,)
Adur Coastal Wildlife Reports
What does an eggcase look like? (Shark Trust link)

28 March 2005
The first Small White Butterfly of the year was seen near Kingston Buci fluttering over the road towards Church Green. 
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

On the third rung from the top of Shoreham Harbour Power Station (north side), the Peregrine Falcon was a small dot even through binoculars. Whilst waiting to see if it would dive on an unsuspecting bird, the mist closed in in the late afternoon and obscured the huge chimney completely. 

27 March 2005
A male Blackcap perched and calling on the top of a small tree in the front garden of 42 the Drive, Shoreham-by-Sea, was highly distinctive with its slightly ruffled hairdo and almost a complete surprise. Almost a surprise only because I had thought I had seen a female two weeks before, but thought the idea unlikely because Blackcaps are thought to be summer visitors, although some do spend the winter in England. This bird was a fraction larger than a sparrow, and its presence and behaviour made it seem just a big bigger again. 
Shoreham Town & Gardens

26 March 2005
An Osprey was seen flying north over Beeding Hill at 11:30 am.

Report from Stanley Allen on Sussex Ornithological Society News

The small hoverfly Meliscaeva auricollis was seen at St. James the Less churchyard, Lancing. 
Photograph (Link)

Identification by David Iliff on UK Hoverflies

25 March 2005
The Full Moon appeared exceptionally large in the eastern sky rising above the horizon at 6:04 pm before the sunset at 6:22 pm UT.

We had a brief visit to McIntyres Field (Lancing Ring LNR) where I spotted a Grass Snake and close by a Slow Worm basking in a sunny corner.

Sweet VioletsOn the sunniest day of the year so far when the air temperature attained 16.8 ºC, there were thousands of Sweet Violets growing on the slopes of Mill Hill. A single Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly visited one of them for a second on the lower slopes. A Green Woodpecker was resting in the short grass under the ridge of Mill Hill, before flying with its characteristic dipping flight over towards the wooded area near the Waterworks House. 

Adur Violets

21 March 2005
A Common Dolphin, Delphinus delphis, was stranded on Lancing Beach. The dolphin, which was attended by British Divers Marine Life Rescue, was still alive when washed ashore. I received a report from Trevor Weeks reporting on the outcome.
The dolphin was female about two metres in length and about 80% of its teeth were missing. The dolphin appeared badly emaciated and its breathing rate was 8 to 10 breaths a minute. Following advice from the vet, the decision was made that the dolphin was suffering and that an attempt to return it to the sea was not an option and euthanasia was the best course of action.

(Sussex County Recorder for Marine Mammals) 
on the Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group
Full Report
BMLSS Cetacea

19 March 2005
An adult Mediterranean Gull was on the River Adur estuary just south of Toll Bridge at midday on the low tide  (low neap tide at 2.4 metres WX Tides).

Report from Stanley Allen on Sussex Ornithological Society News

Ray Hamblett was the first to spot the Holly Blue Butterfly around the top of the tall Hawthorn Tree in his back garden in south Lancing (TQ 186 044). This is exceptionally early sighting, one month earlier than last year
As the mist rolled in from the sea, the heights of Lancing Ring were bathed in sunshine at 14.5 ºC
Katherine Hamblett was the first to spot a Comma Butterfly this year, briefly before it closed its wings and became almost invisible, at the top of McIntyre's Field (a wildlife meadow) to the east of Lancing Ring.
And Jan Hamblett was the first with a Peacock Butterfly this year just inside the Lancing Ring meadows by the Blackthorn (not in flower) to the east of Barton's Wood. 
I had to make do with the first sighting, just for the day, of a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly visiting Speedwell in the Manor Allotments, Lancing, (south of McIntyre's Field).
Full Report (including birds)
National Butterflies: First Dates

A rather dazed looking Comma Butterfly was sitting in the sun in our garden in Lancing, just south of the A27 this morning.

Comma Report by Belinda Moore
Adur Butterfly List 2005

18-19 March 2005
As the night fell a dense mist came down and restricted visibility to 25 metres. the lowest air temperatures was 6.8 ºC at dawn but for most of the time it would have been higher than the sea temperature which is about 7 ºC at this time of the year. 

18 March 2005
Four Brimstone Butterflies are seen at Coombes. The Wall Whitlow-grass, Draba muralis, is growing and spreading rapidly, not on chalk but on a geological rock base of a greensand outcrop in Coombes village.

Report by Brianne Reeve

16 March 2005
Looking skywards towards the forty Jackdaws in the air and towards the rookery in the pine tree in The Drive, Shoreham-by-Sea, with at least one Rook* and more Jackdaws and possibly Crows as well, a flutter of brown was the first butterfly seen in March this year. It was probably a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly and added credence to this identification was given when a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly was disturbed basking in the midday sun on the Pixie Footpath adjacent to the horse's fields on the way to Mill Hill, when I was quick enough to make a positive identification. 
(*The identification is 100% confirmed. NB: when the light catches a Crow's beak at a certain alignment, it appears silvery and looks a bit like a Rook.)
Shoreham Town & Gardens
Rookery in The Drive, Shoreham (near Buckingham Park)
 Coltsfoot and Lesser Celandine are both harbingers of spring

On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, I was again surprised by a bright yellow Brimstone Butterfly being mobbed (or seduced) by a dark brown butterfly or day-flying moth which was not identified. Another Brimstone Butterfly appeared and two of these large butterflies were in my field of view at the same time under a warm sun registering an air temperature of 14.6 ºC. The third butterfly of the day was a Red Admiral basking on the hard surface path in the copse at the brow of Mill Hill. 

Adur Butterflies
Adur Butterfly List 2005
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

The first ladybird of the year was a 7-spot Ladybird, Coccinella septempunctata, in the Butterfly Copse (near the Waterworks Road). There were at least three. 
Adur Ladybirds

15 March 2005
A Black Redstart was observed in the woodpiles behind Carrot's Cafe, near Shoreham Harbour Power Station in Southwick. This is not a migrant bird but only third time I've seen it this winter.

Sussex Birds Forum Message (Link)

14 March 2005
Widewater was as still as a millpond apart from the torrents of seawater gushing through the pipeline on the equinoctial spring tide and the seawater bubbling through the shingle bank through the floor of the lagoon. The depth gauge registered a high 1.60 cm. There was no moving life like the small prawns to be seen in the clear water. Mallards landed on the surface and a Little Egret probed around the flooded edges.

Common Frog (Photograph by Andy Horton)13-20 March 2005
Common Frogs are mating with a lot of commotion and at least eight litres of frog spawn in a garden pond in The Drive, Shoreham-by-Sea,

10 March 2005
As air temperature (10.7 ºC) went into double figures for the first time since 12 February 2005, about one thousand Lapwings circled the River Adur estuary by Old Shoreham on the receding tide waiting for enough mud to appear for the flock to land. 
On the River Adur, the four ducks around the first bend north of the A27 Flyover, were four Pochards which are unusual on the tidal river; their maroon heads of the three males most distinctive. Further north on the bend of the main river by Cuckoo’s Corner, four Little Grebes, swam and dived in the flat calm water. 
There were at least a pair of Long-tailed Tits in the naked trees as the Coombes Road crossed Ladywell Stream. 
On the cyclepath south of the Cement Works, Coltsfoot flowers amongst the grass were most noticeable. I could not find any leaves for this plant. 
On the rotten logs on the cyclepath verges there were numerous Trametes bracket fungi and on the end of another log there were some King Alfred’s Cakes; a distinctive blackish-coloured fungus. 
On Kingston Buci beach, the tide went out as far as I had ever seen. There was very little life in the pools. 
Full Report
Shoreham Fungi

4 March 2005
Looking from the Grinstead Lane bridge, Lancing, towards the north-east, a thin coating of snow has settled on Truleigh Hill on the far side of the Adur valley gap. The distant hills backing Brighton are all coated in white.

3 March 2005
There was no sign of snow in Shoreham town but on looking out of my window, there was a thin layer of snow on the downs above Shoreham. This snow was only on the high ground north of the A27 By-pass, and the pastures from Slonk Hill westwards to Mill Hill were green. The ice in my garden pond was 3 mm thick with just a small amount of open water at the edges of the pond. The precipitation for today was recorded at nil, so the snow must have fallen yesterday, obscured by the rain in town. The air temperature is above zero throughout the day, but it was -0.1 ºC at dawn. 

There were a least two Rooks feeding on the Hamm Road allotments (next to Eastern Avenue), their sharp silvery beaks in contrast to the blunter black beaks of the usual Crows
Shoreham Town & Gardens

2 March 2005
I awoke to 6 cm (measured) of lying snow in Ring Road, North Lancing. The last few hours have seen much wintery precipitation, a mixture of hail, rain, and snow.

The snow was not repeated elsewhere. In Shoreham town and in Lancing there was horizontal sleet turning to rain, on to a warm waterlogged ground where the snow did not settle even briefly. The daily rain was in excess of 12 mm and the air temperature and dewpoint remained above zero on Shoreham Beach.

1 March 2005
The snow of yesterday had all melted, the breeze had changed to the south-west and it rained 5.08 mm. 


December 2004 Reports
November 2004 Reports
October 2004 Reports
September 2004 Reports
August 2004 Reports
July 2004 Reports
June 2004 Reports
May 2004 Reports
April 2004 Reports

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

Chalk Downs 2004
Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea

Adur Valley Biodiversity Network  (forum)

MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and Downs

Urban Wildlife Webring

Link to more detailed wildlife reports for January to March 2003
Link to the spring wildlife reports for 2003
Adur Valley Nature Notes  October - December 2002

Link to Adur Valley Nature Notes 2003Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2004 Index page

Adur Valley Nature Notes  January to March 2002
Adur Valley Nature Notes  April - June 2002
Adur Valley Nature Notes  July - September 2002
Adur Valley Nature Notes  October - December 2002

Mill Hill, north of Shoreham

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