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May 2004

* 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

Adoonis Blue Butterfly (Photograph by Andy Horton)

Adonis Blue Butterfly


31 May 2004
Large Red Damselflies, Pyrrhosoma nymphula, are seen in at least two Shoreham garden ponds in Mill Lane and in a back garden in The Drive. In Mill Lane, the Blue-tailed Damselfly, Ischnura elegans, was also in flight over the pond and probably Azure Damselflies, Coenagrion puella, as well.
In a pond in a south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044), the dragonfly larvae (image) appears to be a Sympetrum species possibly the Common Darter.

Larval Report by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature) on the Lancing Nature Notes

On Southwick beach a shrimp fisherman (push-netting) reported a juvenile Thornback Ray, Raja clavata, in his four foot net. 
Adur Seashore
BMLSS Sharks and Rays

26 May 2004
I was not sure if it it was two or three species of damselfly I was viewing over the thistles and tall nettles in the narrow field next to the stream by the Steyning Road (TQ 209 068). The males and females of over 30 Azure Damselflies, Coenagrion puella, look appreciably different, and the head of the females are often black and white. 

Large Red Damselfly

The other species, the Large Red Damselfly, Pyrrhosoma nymphula, was the first time I have seen this common species, although other observers have seen it and it is usually the first species reported each year. 
Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies
Adur Damselflies & Dragonflies Local Flight Times
British Dragonfly Society
UK Dragonflies (Yahoo Group)
British Insects (Yahoo Group)

25 May 2004
Common Blue Butterflies appear on the Lancing Ring meadows.

Report by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature) on the Lancing Nature Smart Group
Image of Male
Image of Female

On the eastern road verge to the south-west of New House Farm (Upper Beeding) on the A2037 where the Beeding and Bramber road leaves the A283 Shoreham (to Steyning) Road (TQ 198 099) a brown butterfly flew around energetically and refused to settle. It was almost certainly a Wall Brown Butterfly, the first of the year, but I was unable to confirm this.

The first Common Blue Butterfly of 2004 was spotted in the buttercup strewn field north-west of Beeding Hill car park. Skylarks were in song and flight over the downs and a dozen or so Rooks probed the soil on Beeding Hill with their silver beaks.

Common Blue Butterfly

Down on the Adur Levels, a dozen or more Common Blue Butterflies flew amongst the tall vegetation on the verge of the cyclepath near the abandoned Beeding (Shoreham) Cement Works. It was difficult to be sure of their numbers as many would be successfully hiding. 
Adur Butterfly List 2004
Adur Butterflies Flight Times
Adur First Butterfly Dates 2004

Female Adonis Blue Butterfly23 May 2004

The blooming of the Horseshoe Vetch was even more impressive on the lower slopes of Mill Hill than last year after the recent rain, but there were the first signs that the flowers are beginning to diminish. Of the 19 Adonis Blue Butterflies, just one was a brown female with a lot of blue on its upper wings and body. Small Heath Butterflies, Dingy and Grizzled Skippers were there as well as would be expected at this time of the year. 

Full Report
Adur Butterflies
On the Slonk Hill North road embankment 12 Small Blue Butterflies were roosting in the long vegetation in the late afternoon. 
On the edge of the horse's field on the south-west approaches of Mill Hill, (south of the A27 main road), on the pile of dung next to the footpath two clumps of about 20 mushrooms were growing. It is a species of Conocybe. There are seventy nine species of Conocybe found in Britain.
Fungi ID suggestion by Jean J Wuilebaut on Fungi of the British Isles (Yahoo Group)
Full Report (with photographs)
Fungi of Shoreham
Adur Fungi: Fruiting Bodies (Monthly Guide)
22 May 2004

Perched on the top of a Hawthorn, the colourful red breast of a Linnet was a pleasing change from the omnipresent House Sparrows on the path south-east of Old Shoreham Toll Bridge
Full Report

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 milky 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. 
Marine Life (Sussex) 2004
Intertidal Life (Adur) 2004

19 May 2004
In the field between the Waterworks (at Old Shoreham) and the east side of the Steyning Road, it was really fascinating just how attached the smaller yellow butterfly was, as a pair of Green-veined White Butterflies were mating despite being bothered by other butterflies of the same species. There were about half a dozen in flight, the other four were soloists.

Green-veined White Butterflies
Green-veined White Butterflies mating
Yellow Flag Iris by the stream

There were about the same number of Azure Damselflies, Coenagrion puella, with at least four of them male and these were over the prickly thistles and nettles rather than the stream. 
British Dragonfly Society
Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies
On the cyclepath to the north of  the flyover, I spotted the colourful orange wing tips of the male Orange Tip Butterfly twice in quick succession. The attendant whites were thought to be their suitors. This is the first time this species of butterfly has been recorded in this area. 
Adur Butterflies
Warblers were warbling in the shrubbery. According to experienced birdwatcher Alan, there were both Reed Warblers and Sedge Warblers.
Adur Levels
Not a cloud in the sky and temperature reached 22.6 ºC early on a sunny afternoon.
Shoreham Weather Station

18 May 2004
Snakelocks Sea AnemoneOne specimen of the Grey Sea Slug, Aeolidia papillosa, is seen under Worthing Pier laying its white spawn coil under a small flint rock. This sea slug dies after spawning. Its diet consists entirely of sea anemones. The numbers vary from year to year, sometimes absent altogether and other years they can be found in dozens, often in their final death throes. The 1.1 metre low tide just exposed the the end of the pier, but apart from a few juvenile Blennies, Lipophrys pholis, and Snakelocks Anemones, Anemonia viridis,  the shore fauna was not very interesting.

17 May 2004
The Small Blue Butterfly is confirmed from Slonk Hill where the first Adonis Blue Butterfly of the year was also seen with a Grizzled Skipper and a Small White Butterfly or two. Two more Adonis Blues were seen on Mill Hill
Small Blue Butterfly
Horseshoe Vetch on the
Lower Slopes of Mill Hill
Small Blue Butterfly

Full Report from Slonk Hill

There appeared to be at least one Hairy Violet, Viola hirta, with blunt sepals and hairy leaves on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. 
Violets of Mill Hill

16 May 2004
Slonk Hill EmbankmentClose examination of the Horseshoe Vetch on Slonk Hill (A27 north road embankment) revealed this plant to be growing upright in clumps, In this respect they differ from the prostrate form on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. There were a handful of small dark blue butterflies fluttering over the Horseshoe Vetch and Common Vetch on the steep chalk south-facing bank in the humid sunshine as the traffic roared past. The air temperature reached the the highest of the year so far at 24.1 ºC. Small Blue Butterflies are a new butterfly (the thirtieth) to be recorded on the Nature Notes pages and were quick to hide in the dense and varied vegetation on the chalk bank. I counted half a dozen, but I would estimate that there were at least a dozen in flight in the hot sunshine around midday, but they were not be be seen when I returned in the evening. The butterflies on the southern bank were Holly Blues which are similar in appearance. 
The first Green-veined White Butterfly on the lower (tidal reaches) Adur Valley appeared in a back garden in Shoreham near Buckingham Park (TQ  219 063) which is out of place as this is a countryside and waste land species. 
Adur Butterflies

15 May 2004
A year ago a large expanse of the Widewater flood plain was bare gravel because it all had been churned over to construct the new pipeline. 

Widewater gravel where the pipeline disturbed the ground one year later

Colonisation was expected to be swift and one year later the shingle is covered by the blue-violet of Ivy leaved Toadflax, with splatterings of other ground-hugging plants like Scarlet Pimpernel, small patches of Stonewort, clumps of Sea Campion, one or two Bird's Foot Trefoil, and a few small Sea Kale plants. Sea Thrift produced the usual attractive sweeps over the gravel, but none of this had actually sprouted forth from the disturbed ground. A Ringed Plover was well camouflaged against the shingle and plants. 

There were thousands of small prawns, probably Palaemon elegans but there were still no 3-spined Sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus, to be seen. There was one new very small fish species though: the Common Goby, Pomatoschistus microps, which was to be expected* with the new pipeline and might have even have occurred before. (* It is found in Hove Lagoon.) A handful were seen, but there are probably hundreds. 

Small Heath on Horseshoe Vetch13 May 2004
The Horseshoe Vetch is now flowering over almost its complete range on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, including the southern end of the steeper slopes that was not showing at all a week ago and could not be seen from a distance three days ago. The only butterflies on the lower slopes of Mill Hill were Dingy Skippers (12), Small Heath (1), Small White (1) and Peacock (1).There was a Pyrausta nigrata moth and one Wave Moth, Cabera sp.

12 May 2004
After the Widewater Lagoon Management Committee meeting, I compiled an article on part of the ecology of Widewater Lagoon relating to salinity, concluding that the seawater pipeline intake would confer advantages to the biodiversity of the lagoon during the summer months but would show no benefits during the winter and around the time of the equinoctial spring tides
Article: Is Widewater Lagoon turning into a Seawater Inlet?
Report and Conclusion

Scores of House Martins filled the sky over the Adur Levels

11 May 2004
A male Whinchat was singing in the fog from the Carrot's Cafe car park, by Shoreham Harbour Power Station (at Southwick) in the early morning rush hour.

Report by Richard Fairbank (Shoreham Beach) on the Sussex Birds Yahoo Group

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?  Is it 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)
Intertidal (Adur beaches)
Panaeolus mushroom near a dried cow pat at Anchor Bottom
East of Mill Hill, the first Rook appeared, followed by a pair east of Erringham Hill, and at Anchor Bottom and Beeding Hill to the north over 300 Rooks probed in the grasslands. Alas, the cow pasture at Anchor Bottom was dried cow pats (without the cows) and attendant Panaeolus sphinctrinus mushrooms. Historically, the exposed west facing escarpment of Anchor Bottom had a reputation for butterflies, but there was a complete absence of both Horseshoe Vetch and Bird's Foot Trefoil (the important food plants for blue butterflies)
On both the lower and middle slopes of Mill Hill, the Horseshoe Vetch was flowering clearly with a yellow expanse, but it was still a week off its best.
Fungi of the Downs in May 2004

6 May 2004
Sparrows scattered in multiple directions and a low flying brown bird of prey flew by at tremendous speed near St. Nicolas Church, Old Shoreham. This was identified as a male Kestrel, and was another report of this bird of prey chasing Sparrows, although I have not had a report of a Kestrel catching one yet..

Report by Mike Burtt
Town & Gardens 2004

2 May 2004
A Large White Butterfly, the first of the year is seen in the back garden of 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), (TQ  219 063). My first Small Heath Butterfly, the first of just three (and the first recorded in Britain this year by the Butterfly Conservation Society), were amongst a handful of Dingy Skippers and a Brimstone Butterfly on the lower slopes of Mill Hill
Adur Butterflies Flight Times
Adur First Butterfly Dates 2004
Adur Butterflies

1 May 2004
Three sleek birds of prey flew in under the mist on Southwick beach. These were a complete surprise and identified as immigrant Hobbies.

Report by June Brown

June 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 2003Latest Nature Notes and Index page 2002

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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