Black-headed Gull in flight (Photograph by Ian Thirlwell)
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Latest Nature Notes and Index page 2002
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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
Fungi of Shoreham
Adur Fruiting Bodies Database
Lancing Fungi Gallery (by Ray Hamblett)
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Lancing Clump Supplementary
Autumn 2004 
Fungi of Mill Hill
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Spring Dyke next to the Miller's
 Stream (Adur Levels)
Waterworks Road
Mill Hill (Summer 2004)
Lower (Horseshoe Vetch) Slopes of Mill Hill
Lancing Ring and Meadows
Slonk Hill and 
Road Embankment
Widewater Lagoon 2004
Adur Insect Links:

Solitary Bees
Adur Bees, Wasps & Sawflies



May 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

Lower slopes of Mill Hill
Photograph by Ray Hamblett


29 May 2005
Butterflies were on show in Mash Barn Lane, Lancing, where the first Brown Argus Butterfly of the year made an appearance with a male Common Blue Butterfly. This raises an identification problem as the female Common Blues are very similar to the Brown Argus. This is the first May record for the Brown Argus on these Adur Nature Notes pages.
Brown Argus Butterfly (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)
Brown Argus Butterfly

Photograph by Ray Hamblett
ID by Andy Horton

Lancing Gallery: Blue Butterflies (by Ray Hamblett)

Brown Argus ID Notes
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List 2005

On the low spring tide, the Gull-billed Tern could be easily overlooked or mistaken for a gull as it waddled along the tideline and occasionally on to the mud. With its black head and black legs it had to be distinguished from a Black-headed Gull within a few metres of the tern. At first, the Gull-billed Tern seemed to be pecking at minute food particles, but after a few minutes it caught a ragworm which tangled around its beak. On another occasion, the worm was taken to the water and rinsed before swallowing. 

28 May 2005
The birders were out in search of the distinctive Gull-billed Tern with their scopes into a Force 6 Strong Breeze, later a Force 7 Gale. The tern was still present on the Adur estuary between the Toll Bridge and the Railway Viaduct until late in the morning when it flew off westwards. 
Gull Billed Tern catching a ragworm (Photograph by © Garry Bagnell)
Gull-billed Tern catching a ragworm
Photograph by 
© Garry Bagnell

Bagnell's Bird List (Web Site)


The Gull-billed Tern is an annual vagrant to southern England. Its natural distribution is mostly a bird of southern Europe including coastal wetlands such as the Ebro Delta and Coto Donana (Spain) and a small population in France.
Images on "Birds of Sussex"

27 May 2005
The rare Gull-billed Tern, Sterna nilotica, was still present on the Adur estuary opposite the airport to at least 8.10 am giving good views, although it is a bit flighty. 

Report by Richard Fairbank on the Sussex Birds Yahoo Group
and Richard Ives (who first discovered this bird) on 
the Sussex Ornithological Society News
Birds of Sussex

The afternoon heatwave under a blue sky attained an air temperature of 25.2 ºC, the warmest day of the year so far by nearly 5° C from the beginning of the month. Horseshoe Vetch is showing in the area south of the car park on the upper part of Mill Hill. On the lower slopes of six acres, Horseshoe Vetch is still in superabundance, covering almost the whole area. 

A freshly killed Roe Deer (with antlers) was lying near the central reservation on the A27 as it goes through the Slonk Hill Cutting, about midway on the same longitude as Buckingham Park.
Roe Deer Adonis Blue Butterfly (female)

The largest single day count of Adonis Blue Butterflies was reached with 74 (66 on Mill Hill) and over 100 butterflies in the day of ten species. I also saw my first male Common Blue Butterfly of the year (I had already seen a female). 
Butterfly & Moth Report

26 May 2005
The rare Gull-billed Tern, Sterna nilotica, is first seen on the Adur estuary.

As the Shoreham Harbour fog horn boomed, the mist rolled in (visibility on the shore was 500 metres but much less at sea), and I noticed that behind (north of) Carat's Cafe on Southwick Beach that five square metres of Kidney Vetch was now in flower together with clumps of Sea Campion, Thrift and English Stonecrop

25 May 2005
Shrimping (push-net in the shallows in the sea off Widewater) continued the poor results with so much weed, after the two days of strong breezes (Force 5+), that shrimping was severely hampered. Not a single Brown Shrimp, Crangon, was caught. A small Brill (a flatfish), Scophthalmus rhombus, was discovered floundering amongst the weed and an small Sole that escaped the net, with a dozen of the South-clawed Hermit Crab, Diogenes pugilator, and one of the swimming crabs, the Vernal Crab, Liocarcinus vernalis.
Lancing Beach
Adur Intertidal 2005
Vernal Crab, Liocarcinus vernalis

23 May 2005
The exceptionally poor rockpooling season continues. The unusual sea anemone Sagartiogeton undatus was seen at mid-tide level on Kingston Beach. Later a small Daisy Anemone, Cereus pedunculatus, was discovered in the home aquarium, and it was probably introduced with a cockle. This is another sea anemone that is unusual and has not been recorded more than once or twice  (if at all) on this estuarine shore. It is southern species that occasionally occurs on Worthing beach.
BMLSS Sea Anemones

On Widewater Lagoon, the Mute Swans at the eastern end are looking after six cygnets

Widewater Report by Derek Neate (FOWL)

22 May 2005
Under an overcast sky, the first female Adonis Blue was recorded on the north bank of the Slonk Hill Cutting with three bright blue iridescent males, one which had lost a wing. The female butterfly appeared to be an indeterminate variety without the chocolate brown colour of the females. It is illustrated on the left below. Adonis Blue Butterflies with 17 were the commonest butterflies on the wing on a breezy day with ten different species of butterfly and skipper recorded.
Adonis Blue female, but atypical colours
Common Blue female

The first Common Blue Butterfly of the year was also recorded on the south bank of Slonk Hill Cutting. Surprisingly this was a female of the blue form, illustrated on the right above. 
Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List 2005
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

The Haymaker Mushroom, Panaeolous sp., appeared on a Shoreham garden lawn. 
Fungi of Shoreham

21 May 2005
A Gull-billed Tern, Sterna nilotica, is reported from Lancing beach over Widewater. This is a rare bird in Britain and Sussex

First observed by Richard Ives
Report from the Sussex Biodiversity Centre

20 May 2005
The Peregrine Falcon on the Shoreham Harbour Power Station chimney  squawked madly and became agitated as the painters on the chimney got near the nest box. The noise the falcon made could be heard over the howling wind (Force 4).

Report by Peter Talbot-Elsden
NB: Peregrines lay their eggs in April and the youngsters remain in the nest for up to 40 days. 

At the Shoreham Society AGM, dismay was expressed by at least six members at the lopping work on the Chestnut Trees in Buckingham Park in autumn 2004. 

Roe Deer in the Elm avenue18 May 2005
Passage along the Elm avenue on New Monks Farm was interrupted in a head on confrontation with a Roe Deer wanting to proceed in my direction. After attempting to intimidate me (by raising its front legs high up and advancing two or three metres) from a distance of 50 metres or so, it veered of after 20 seconds.  I nearly trod on a Common Partridge before it flew off suddenly. At the Mash Barn Lane end I saw my first blue damselfly of the year. It was probably an Azure Damselfly. The hoverfly Volucella bombylans var. plumata was seen at the same time. 
Adur Hoverflies

The young fledged Blackbirds have been driven to fend for themselves in my back garden in south Lancing (TQ 186 044).

Blackbird Report by Ray Hamblett on Lancing Nature Notes
Link to a photograph of a young female Blackbird (by Jan Hamblett)

Stag Beetle larva
in a Hillrise Avenue, Sompting garden
Photograph by Ashley Woods
Beetle Report by Brenda Collins (Lancing)

Plight of the Stag Beetle (Link)
Stag Beetle Helpline
Adur Beetles

c.16 May 2005
Seven Mute Swans cygnets are found dead and without injury on Widewater. The speculation is that the cygnets died because of kidney damage through drinking sea water. (This explanation seems unlikely to me AH.)

Report by Derek Neate (FOWL)

15 May 2005
A Kestrel and Crow simultaneously mobbed a Stoat on the Horseshoe Vetch covered slopes of Mill Hill.Later in the afternoon, a Stoat was seen slinking over the short grass and herbs and making a quick bolt down a rabbit burrow just below the ridge. The Stoat was out in the open for about two seconds.
In the field below (west of) Mill Hill a young Roe Deer calf was suckling from her mother out in meadow.*

* Action Reports by Jan Hamblett (Lancing Nature)
Deer Images (by Ray Hamblett)
Adonis Blue Butterfly (Photograph by Katherine Hamblett)

Adonis Blue Butterfly
amongst the Horseshoe Vetch
Photograph by Katherine Hamblett (aged 10½ years)

After buffeting by the gales and strong breezes during the last week, the sun came out and the butterflies, skippers and moths were now common (just over 100). On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the first four male Adonis Blue Butterflies of the year fluttered around the Horseshoe Vetch (which was at about 85% of its maximum luxuriance). 
Thirteen species of butterfly and skipper were seen in an hour and a half.
Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List 2005

Horseshoe Vetch

"The prostrate downland tetraploid race of Hippocrepis comosa is not harmed by moderately heavy sheep grazing and is resistant to moderate trampling, but doesn't persist after ploughing or disturbance of the ground, or in areas grazed by cattle." 

Journal of Ecology Vol. 61, pp. 915-926 (1973).

Identification Notes (Link)

11 May 2005
The green orchid-like Common Twayblade, Listera ovata, was growing on the verges just north of Beeding Hill car park beside the path on the way to Golding Barn. This all green plant can be quite difficult to discover.

Report by Jim Hoare (Sussex Downsman)

Photograph by Ray Hamblett

Two adult Mute Swans are seen guarding their seven cygnets on Widewater Lagoon.

Report and Photograph by Ray Hamblett on Lancing Nature Notes

10 May 2005
An adult Slow Worm in Mash Barn Lane measured 24 cm long and it appeared to have a newly grown tail. A pristine Red Admiral Butterfly chasing a settled Orange-tip Butterfly off a Cow Parsley plant was an interaction I had not seen before, in the avenue of Elms in the centre of New Monks Farm.
Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List 2005
Green-veined Orchid ( Photograph by Jim Steedman)
8 -13 May 2005
Hundreds of Green-winged Orchids are flowering at Anchor Bottom, near Upper Beeding, on the eastern bank. There were not as many as in previous years. When the orchids are over there is not a trace of them to see, no stalk or leaves.

Report and Photograph by Jim Steedman
Adur Orchids

7 May 2005
Four Linnets were seen on the cyclepath just south of the Toll Bridge.
Nomada cleptoparastic bee Andrena Mining Bee

In Mash Barn Lane, Lancing, an interesting bee (or wasp) (above left), the kleptoparasitic (cuckoo) bee Nomada was pointed out to me by Ray Hamblett  with other more familiar flying insects, including seven species of butterfly.
The bee in the first photograph is Nomada fucata, a parasite of the mining bee Andrena flavipes in the photograph on the right which was discovered within a metre of the first bee. Nomada fucata is now widely recorded from southern England. (TQ 188 049)

ID confirmed to genus level and identified to specific level by Matt Smith
on the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society Yahoo Group
Insect & Butterfly Report (with photographs)

6 May 2005
Lawrie Keen drew my attention to the call of a Nightingale that appeared to come from the fringe of the incursing woodland on the southern slopes of Mill Hill (NE of the Waterworks House). I did not recognise it amongst the other bird song. 

Eleven species of butterfly were seen during the day, and a small moth 2470 Small Purple-barred Moth Phytometra viridaria was recorded for the first time (it had been overlooked before) on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, although it has been seen recently. The larvae of this species feeds on Milkwort.

Butterfly & Moth Report
Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List 2005
hoverfly Leucozona lucorum Small Purple-barred Moth, Phytometra viridaria

The common Alexanders on the southern part of Mill Hill attracted hundreds of flies, including hoverflies. The first picture is the hoverfly Leucozona lucorum. There has been an explosion of this species in Holland and Belgium this year.

5 May 2005

This attractive Angle Shades Moth, Phlogophora meticulosa, was discovered in Lancing Manor allotments.

Report and Photograph by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature)

2 May 2005
At 11.20 am I watched a Hoopoe fly from Henfield Brooks across the river to trees behind the marl pit north of Wyckham Wood. I walked up, flushing a pair of Garganey from the pit, but I couldn't find them again. 

Report by Keith Noble (RSPB) on Sussex Ornithological Society News
Adur Levels 2005

A Solenette, Buglossidium luteum, and a Plaice in the shrimp push-net off Southwick, but there were only ten Brown Shrimps on the low neaps. This is a very poor shrimping return for April or May. However, these two fish have not been knowing caught before whilst shrimping or rockpooling, so this was a successful outing. 

The air temperature reached 20.4 ºC which was the highest so far this year.

1 May 2005
Two Common Partridges* were disturbed on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. I actually got quite close (15 metres) them before they flew off towards the Adur Levels and Spring Dyke. This was the first time I had seen them on Mill Hill. The first Cinnabar Moth of the year was seen on the Shoreham Bank
*The identification was made because they flew off immediately when flushed. 

The first confirmed Wall Brown Butterfly of the year was seen on the Pixie Path (approaches to Mill Hill). This was one of eleven species of butterflies seen during the day, nine of them seen on the outskirts of Shoreham town
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

On the cyclepath south of the Toll Bridge, the first Hawthorn was beginning to flower. Hoverflies and bumblebees were around as expected in the weak intermittent sunshine, with large dollops of rain very briefly in the slightly hazy conditions. 

Eleven May Day Butterflies
Recorded in order of first appearance:

Holly Blue  2+
Green-veined WhitePeacock 2+
Green-veined White 2+
Large White  1
Speckled Wood  5+
Small White  5+
Brimstone  1
Orange Tip  4
Wall Brown  1 or 2
Grizzled Skipper  6+
Dingy Skipper  3+

The first Red Admiral Butterfly on these Nature Notes pages for the month of May was seen on Lancing Ring in the woodland in the afternoon, with six Speckled Woods.

Adur Butterfly Flight Times

Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List 2005

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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