NATURE NOTES      2009
Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex

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May 2009


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

Adur Coastal & Marine
Adur Estuary & Levels
Mill Hill & the Downs
Urban Reports
Horseshoe Vetch on Mill Hill



31 May 2009
The sun shined and the air temperature reached 22.9 °C and this was probably the warmest day of the year. I recorded my first Burnet Companion Moth of 2009 with four other medium-sized moths and twelve species of butterflies on a day that included a visit to Mill Hill where Dropwort was beginning to flower and the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, was rapidly fading. Robin's Pin Cushion, created by groups of larvae of the Gall Wasp, Diplolepis rosae, was noted on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. 
Full Butterfly & Moth Report

I saw my first Meadow Brown Butterfly of the summer in the morning at Beeding Hill. I also saw a number of Six-spot Burnet Moths flying.

Report by Jim Steedman on Sussex Butterflies
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

29 May 2009
Lesser Weever on show at Adur World Oceans Day 2008Beware of the Weever fish!  Two Lesser Weevers, Echiichthys vipera, were captured in shallow water on a shrimping expedition ot Lancing Beach. They were amongst the weed in the net so I had to be careful of their venomous fins. Solenettes (Slipper Soles), one intact Vernal Crab Liocarcinus vernalis, one small Plaice, two South-clawed Hermit Crabs, Diogenes pugilator, one swimming crab Portumnus latipes, were amongst the poor haul of Brown Shrimps, Crangon crangon.
Full Shrimping Report
BMLSS Shrimping Page

27 May 2009
A male Stag Beetle, Lucanus cervus, was rescued from the middle of The Street, Old Shoreham, at the top end next to Frampton's Field and thrown back into the narrow band of trees
The Painted Lady Butterflies were not as numerous as the previous day and one every minute was seen along the western towpath from the Toll Bridge to Cuckoo's Corner.
Adur Beetles

26 May 2009
The mass immigration of Painted Lady Butterflies was astonishing, throughout the morning over Southwick and Portslade the Painted Ladies exceeded two a minute for an hour and were over one a minute the rest of the time, with large numbers (100+) in Portslade Cemetery and on the main road that traversed Hove Cemetery, the butterflies flew across the road at over 30 every minute for five minutes in passing. The conservative estimate was at least 500 seen as I cycled along the urban roads. Occasionally a Large White Butterfly was spotted.
Painted Lady Influx on UK Butterflies

25 May 2009
A brief rockpooling foray in the early morning to Kingston Buci Beach, east Shoreham, was much more productive than the previous day at east Worthing. A more promising start was found with frequent (enough for a meal) large Prawns Palaeamon serratus, at the Chart Datum marker, and in the net came a capture of a Corkwing Wrasse, Symphodus melops, an adult Blenny, Lipophrys pholis, and two smaller ones, with a medium-sized Bullhead, Taurulus bubalis.  A Little Egret was feeding on the tideline to the east. 
Full Report

24 May 2009
Painted Lady Mother Shipton Moth
Painted Lady
Mother Shipton Moth

An influx of Painted Lady Butterflies occurred with three seen by the early afternoon and three seen in the early evening. My first three day-flying Mother Shipton Moths were spotted on the the lower slopes of Mill Hill, amongst the fading the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa.
Full Butterfly & Moth Report

A rockpooling trip to the rocky shore by the Half Brick, east Worthing was a serious disappointment with hardly anything of interest. It took at least 30 minutes to find a Velvet Swimming Crab Necora puber
Full Report

23 May 2009
Shoreham Beach was covered in swathes of flowering Red Valerian and Sea Kale and Viper's Bugloss was in flower (first time noted this year although flowering must have occurred for at least a week) plus the first Slender Thistle in flower this year.

The early evening shrimping expedition at Lancing was exceptionally poor registering just half a dozen Brown Shrimps, Crangon crangon, with most of them too small and one large one escaped through the net meshing. Incidental captures were exiguous: three very young Greater Pipefish Syngnathus acus three Solenettes (Slipper Soles) Buglossidium luteum, two one-clawed* Vernal Crabs Liocarcinus vernalis half a dozen flatfish (probably Plaice) fry, one South-clawed Hermit Crab, Diogenes pugilator, and a Lesser Spotted Dogfish Scyliorhinus canicula purse with an embryo. (*One claw missing)  A clump of the black grape-like Cuttlefish eggs were discovered washed up on the strandline
BMLSS Shrimping Page

21 May 2009
In the late afternoon there were about twenty Small Blue Butterflies in a three square metre patch of Buckingham Cutting south all fluttering about before they settled down to roost. Thirteen butterfly species were seen on a sunny breezy day when I cycled to Anchor Bottom and back.
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Bees 2009

20 May 2009
Swooping in the blue sky were the streamlined shape of my first Swifts of the year seen from the middle slopes of Mill Hill.
The highlight of an early afternoon were two pairs of copulating Wall Brown Butterflies (which I had never seen before mating) in the clearing to the west of the copse and another pair in the meadow to the north of the upper car park on Mill Hill. 

Small Blue Butterfly (faded)

The Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, was more spectacular than three days earlier on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. The count of Adonis Blue Butterflies was 52 males and 8 females. Thirteen species (the most in a single day in 2009) of butterfly were recorded in the mild sunshine including my first male Common Blue Butterfly and first Small Blues of the year.
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

17 May 2009
On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, was at its peak on a blustery overcast day. My first Painted Lady Butterfly of the year was recorded along with 29 Adonis Blues and eight butterfly species in total on Mill Hill and its approaches. 

Male Adonis Blue
Full Butterfly Report
Flowering Dates of Horseshoe Vetch
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Bees 2009

11 May 2009
My first Slow Worm of the year was a large adult basking on the tarmac twitten between Rosslyn Avenue and Gordon Avenue in the Shoreham residential area

10 May 2009
My first Cinnabar Moth of the year took flight on the lower slopes of Mill Hill showing its distinct red underwing. There were over forty Adonis Blues with one mating pair seen and a courting couple. There were nine species of butterfly in the late morning. 
Butterfly Report
Adur Wild Flowers

9 May 2009
My first dragonfly of the year flew over Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham. It had a  mostly greenish thorax and abdomen, seen for about two seconds before it whizzed out of sight. It was probably a Hairy Dragonfly, Brachytron pratense. In the early evening, I noticed my first House Martins of 2009 over east Shoreham. 
Hoverfly Reports
Latest Flowers
True Bugs

7 May 2009
Eleven species of butterfly seen on a breezy mostly overcast day with patches of sunshine included eight male Adonis Blues and five Wall Browns on just part of Mill Hill
Butterfly Report

3 May 2009
Two species of butterfly were seen for the first time this year on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Just before midday the first male Adonis Blue was spotted settled with its wings folded and 25 minutes later my first definite Small Heath Butterfly was identified as it settled with its wings closed. 
The first Adonis Blue of 2009 Dingy Skipper

At least five Brimstone Butterflies were very active over the lower slopes with frequent Dingy Skippers, probably in excess of thirty over the one acre transect but only a handful of Grizzled Skippers were seen on a day when the sun only shined through the haze for a few minutes. The pyralid micro-moths were less in numbers seen, frequent (40+) Pyrausta nigrata, and occasional Pyrausta despicata. I only visited the lower slopes with the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, now flowering in appreciable amounts but only about 20% of its peak coverage. Milkwort was common and there were still Dog Violets in flower. On the meadow below (to the west) of Mill Hill, a Roe Deer (my first of the year) was seen grazing. It lacked antlers. 
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Butterfly List 2009
Flowering Dates of Horseshoe Vetch
Mill Hill Wildlife Reports 2009



History of Mill Hill
Mill Hill News Reports 2009

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