MILL HILL WILDLIFE REPORTS
SUMMER - AUTUMN 2004

View south-west of Mill Hill from the edge of the ridge below the car park



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WINTER-SPRING
MILL HILL HOMEPAGE
LOWER SLOPES 2004
MILL HILL 
WILDLIFE REPORTS 2005


WILDLIFE REPORTS

30 December 2004
A handful of Sweet Violets in flower in the same place as earlier in the month was the only wildlife observation of limited interest. In the field in the valley below the farmer was inspecting his flock of sheep using his estate car. The car park at the top was quite crowded with over a dozen cars, perhaps twenty, and half a dozen model aircraft in flight over the squelchy muddy downs.

6 December 2004
On the steep bank by the first seat from the south on the southern part of Mill Hill, there is a continuous patch of violets which I thought before were Sweet Violets, but now I am not so sure of my identification. There were three battered flowers to be seen, and the edge of these leaves were all hairy, like the Hairy Violets seen on the lower slopes.
 

These all violet plants were almost identical to the ones seen a fortnight before on the lower slopes. The sepals are green but this is not thought to be distinctive. The major difference is that these violets are in a large clump.
Adur Violets
A handful of Greater Knapweed were still flowering on the southern part of Mill Hill.

22 November 2004
In the scrubby area of Hawthorn in the north-west of Mill Hill Nature Reserve, a small yellowish mushroom was spotted in the area cleared by the South Downs Conservation Board.
As this species was growing out of the soil it is thought to be Mycena flavescens. There is a similar species Mycena arcangeliana which grows on wood.

ID by Jean J Wuilebaut on Fungi of the British Isles (Yahoo Group)
Some of the Dogwood was beginning to flower in the area I have christened the Triangle.
 
Dogwood Small mushroom with a yellowish hue

Violets were in flower on the lower slopes.

11 November 2004
In the fading light of late afternoon, the bare upper slopes of short grass south and south-west of the upper car park hosted a couple of dozen or more of several varieties of mostly small mushrooms. All the small mushrooms were found in an area of about three square metres. The was at least one large mushroom which looked an old brown version of Leucoagaricus leucothites.
 
The identity of this small mushroom, (cap diameter 20 mm) is still a puzzle. It has been discovered before on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. In other specimens the spore print was dark brown.  There at least a dozen, probably more of these small (>30 mm cap diameter) mushrooms. ID is under enquiry. Click on all these images for a larger photograph.  There was only one seen of this similarly sized mushroom, and although the gills did not seem to be decurrent like the white mushroom, it could well be the same species.  This is the same species and same colour as the other white mushroom (larger at 50 mm cap diameter) and flash photograph has produced a colour hue. 

The white species (second left and far right) was also found next to the path in the Triangle area.
This species has now been confirmed as the Pale Wax Cap, Hygrocybe berkeleyi, (known on the British Mycological List as Hygrocybe pratensis var pallida).

ID by Jean J Wuilebaut on Fungi of the British Isles (Yahoo Group)
Cercle de Mycologie de mons (Belgique) page perso de JJ.Wuilbaut
Autumn 2004 Fungi of Mill Hill
Adur Wax Caps

Ribbed Melilot (flash photograph)The Beech at the entrance to the Copse had the leaves that had turned to copper and would have looked attractive if the sun had been out. Ribbed Melilot was noted in flower. (This could be the Tall Melilot.) These were full grown plants with a full compliment of leaves, so they were not confused (see below).

9 November 2004
On an overcast but still day, with hardly a breeze, there was scant colour, and the only movement were a few Blackbirds and other thrushes, apart from the workers repairing the water leak which had caused an area south of the reservoir to be more sodden than the other areas there were muddy after the recent rain.
 
Marigold
Small plant with delicate yellow flowers
Besides the Hawkweeds and Wild Basil, it is surprising how an odd plant is still in flower, notably an occasional Greater Knapweed, Hardhead (Lesser Knapweed), Welted Thistle and an escaped orange Marigold (native orange plants are not known). On the road verge a small plant with delicate yellow flowers (illustrated on the right) was not recognised at first. It is probably a diminutive form of a species of Melilotus flowering out of season, with its toothed leaves with smoothed edges after being eaten by snails.  Although appearing small the plant was later measured in situ at 12 cm in height. Although, it cannot be seen in the photographs, the leaves, if intact, were probably trefoil.

Meliliot ID confirmed by Frank Hunt on UK Botany (Yahoo Group)
Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea

There were at least two specimens of the large mushroom Volvariella gloiocephala (illustrated below) on the road verge. The largest specimen had a flat cap and measured 93 mm in diameter. The smaller more elegant mushroom had a conical cap and this appeared smaller, although the actual mushroom was as tall as the wider specimen.

1 November 2004
Whereas after the dry summer of 2003, Mill Hill was parched and the grass and herblands were almost devoid of fungi, this year, there seems to be dozens of what are almost certainly common species scattered thinly over the whole area. There were eight  different species of mushroom in less than one hour without looking for them.
 
C)  Species with a volva on the road verge C

The tall (100 mm stem) species (illustrated above left) is the first species I have discovered with a volva in the ground. This was left behind on the roadside verge south of the reservoir (country road to from Mill Hill to Beeding Hill) when the stem was pulled off for a closer look. The 60 mm (measured) diameter cap was slightly greenish and the gills were fawn coloured. There was no sign of a stem ring. This species is Volvariella gloiocephala. This species was previously known as Volvariella speciosa.

ID by Jean J Wuilebaut on Fungi of the British Isles (Yahoo Group)
Full Report
Autumn 2004 Fungi of Mill Hill
Fungi Images on the Web (Index)

There was a small (about a dozen) flock of Long-tailed Tits and at least one Blue Tit amongst the Hawthorn near the reservoir. There was also a finch-sized bird perched on top of the Hawthorn bush. A few plants remained in flower including the Prickly Sow-thistle south of the reservoir and the Welted Thistle in the scrub to the north-west.
Upper Slopes: Extra Images

28 October 2004
The Golden Wax Cap, Hygrocybe chlorophana mushrooms were discovered on the A27 road embankment just east of the bridge section where it crosses the Waterworks Road. This would have been part of the old Mill Hill.
Fungi of Shoreham

26 October 2004
The Wax Caps of yesterday had now grown and were large enough to try and identify them. The scarlet caps were at least 32 mm in diameter. The fungi are on the footpath approach to Mill Hill from the Waterworks Road, and they are not expected to last. There are 63 species of Hygrocybe found in Britain. They have been identified as the Dune Wax Cap, Hygrocybe conicoides.
Images

ID by Jean J Wuilebaut on Fungi of the British Isles (Yahoo Group)


Lasioglossum25 October 2004
A solitary bee discovered nectaring on Devil's Bit Scabious on the lower slopes of Mill Hill could be one of several species. This small solitary bee is the species Lasioglossum xanthopum.
Link to the Photographs

The jelly-like blue-green algae called Nostoc commune was found spread over the northern end of the lower slopes of Mill Hill.

Unfamiliar mushroom20 October 2004
In the misty gloom of an overcast day at almost dusk, there was an unfamiliar white mushroom which had been broken off its stem and lay loose on the long grass on the southern part of Mill Hill. The gills are more widely spaced than other white mushrooms seen on the downs. (This widely spaced gill appearance may be a result of an ageing mushroom?)
Fungi of Shoreham

10 October 2004
As Mill Hill was buffeted by a Force 6 Strong Breeze from the east, two Wall Brown Butterflies were seen, one south-west of Mill Hill Bridge (over the A27) and the other on the path at the top of the lower slopes. On the middle slopes the Dogwood is spreading quicker than the attempts to clear it on the disturbed ground. A Comma Butterfly fluttered briefly over one the glades that uses to be clear a few years before. A Red Admiral Butterfly settled for a moment on the path just north of the reservoir.
Dozens of House Martins were swooping to and fro over the hill. The only other birds seen flying overhead were Magpies, Crows and Black-headed Gulls, although there were small birds in the amongst the scrub.

8 October 2004
Only one butterfly was seen on the upper slopes of Mill Hill, and this was a Comma in a glade south of the upper car park. An adult Roe Deer was seen in the narrow overgrown field next to the stream by the Steyning Road through the binoculars from the top of Mill Hill.

Report by Jan Hamblett
Adur Butterfly List 2004

7 October 2004
The male Kestrel flying above the ridge engaged in a courtship ritual with the larger female which was on the ground on the steep slopes of Mill Hill. The male dived at the female who had one wing displayed like a bird feigning injury and one of the two birds (I think was the female) uttered a piercing scream-like call.

Mill Hill copse prior to its autumn colours

6 October 2004
After the brief rain shower, the rainbow viewed from the southern car park at Mill Hill stretched in the distance from Beeding Hill to Mossy Bottom in the north-east.

Rainbow to the north-east of the southern car park on Mill Hill

As the breeze gusted to 35 mph or Gale Force 7, the male Kestrel struggled in its hovering position over the lower slopes of Mill Hill for less than a minute before gliding off.
Altogether about thirty butterflies of seven species made an appearance in an hour. There were no butterflies of any species on the middle or upper slopes of Mill Hill. The highlights were a single faded Painted Lady on the footpath approach to Mill Hill from the Waterworks Road, and the appearance of between five and ten Wall Browns on the lower slopes.
Butterfly Report

In the a cleared area of scrub in the north-west of Mill Hill Nature Reserve, there were a few small mushrooms on a stump plus my first record of a distinctive snail, a tower-like mollusc, on Mill Hill. These snails were expected but I had not seen them before.This tower-like snail is probably Cochlicella acuta. This is reported as a coastal species only.
More Information on the Snail
Fungi of Shoreham

On the path south of the reservoir, there is a small sodden patch which has been damp for about a month. The general opinion seems to be that this because of the Waterworks. Apparently, there are pipes under the soil on the southern part which could explain the flora which is characteristic more of disturbed ground than other areas.

4 October 2004
The Hawthorn Shield Bug settled on my bicycle parked underneath an Elderberry bushAgainst the background of an azure blue sky for the brief period when the clouds had cleared just after midday, one Crow constantly mobbed the male Kestrel that regularly hovers over the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
At this time of year, I only visit the lower slopes of Mill Hill, which means traversing the slightly muddy (after the rain) southern approaches where two Red Admiral Butterflies were seen. The lower slopes produced six of the eight species of butterfly on the day, the most spectacular being a dazzling bright Clouded Yellow.
Butterfly Report
The Heteropteran "Shield Bug" in the photograph on the right was associated with an Elderberry bush. Despite this, this is the Hawthorn Shield Bug, Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale.
Adur Bugs Page
True Bugs Web Page

1 October 2004
A flock, or "murder" of over a hundred Crows suddenly appeared over the southern part of Mill Hill and flew over the Adur valley cawing loudly.
There were just four species of butterfly on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. If it was an Adonis Blue Butterfly, and this seems likely, this would be the first one I have recorded in October.
Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies Flight Times

27 September 2004
Five or six Wall Brown Butterflies were seen on and around Mill Hill, the first one on the footpath approach to Mill Hill from the Waterworks Road, two or three at the northern end of the lower slopes, one by the stile between Mill Hill Nature Reserve and Old Erringham Farm fields and the last one by the cleared ground on the ridge.

On the bare patches created by conservation clearing, mostly of Dogwood above the ridge, the following large plants with an accompanying spider took root. The spider looks like the Nursery Web Spider, Pisaura mirabilis. The silvery grey leaves are of the Great Mullein, Verbascum thapsus.

Plant ID by Richard Collingridge on UK Botany
Wild Plant Study Page (Large Colonisers of Bare Patches)
Grass Seed Mixes (Message from Richard Collingridge on UK Grazing Yahoo Group)
 
Great Mullein Nursery Web Spider

The ridge produced just one Small White Butterfly. The lower slopes produced a further six species of butterfly and the approaches a further one out of two.
Adur Butterfly List 2004

24 September 2004
Adonis Blue (looks like a Common Blue though)Of the 13 (or 14*) species of butterfly seen on ten (or eleven) were exclusive to the lower slopes, two were on the footpath approach to Mill Hill from the Waterworks Road, and a half a dozen Speckled Wood Butterflies were in the copse at the top. No butterflies of any species were recorded in the long grasses on the upper slopes. The butterflies included one Clouded Yellow, one Wall Brown, one Comma, one Brown Argus, one Small Copper and one male Adonis Blue.
(* It is a male Adonis but the brown females could have been the Common Blue Butterfly, or both species of blues.)
PS: I At least one of the brown females was a Chalkhill Blue.
One or two different species of mushrooms were spotted in a short grass and herb area to the south of the Tor Grass on the lower slopes.
Butterfly Report
Adur Butterfly List 2004
Fungi Report

21 September 2004
In the breeze under an overcast sky, the male Kestrel hovered above the ridge as usual, before dropping like a stone to prey on some small item of prey.
Few butterflies were expected and there may have been under twenty on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. The first to appear were a handful of Meadow Browns, a few Small Whites, at least one Large White until I reached the Devil's Bit Scabious at the northern end when one good condition female Common Blue (may be a female Adonis?) with her wings closed nectaring on a the blue flowers, two more Meadow Browns and a Small Copper Butterfly were seen simultaneously.
Above the ridge on the upper slopes, a Devil's Coach Beetle, Staphylinus olens, crawled into shelter, its large and rather ominous-looking body quickly disappeared from view.
Adur Butterfly List 2004
 
 
What plants are these?

Left:
An early coloniser, in bare patches near Rabbit warrens and occasionally in bare patches on the lower slopes as well.

Right:
In the shade of the Hawthorn scrub
 

This plant was discoverd in the shade (in the scrub in the north-west of Mill Hill Nature Reserve near the steps).
Hound's-tongue, Cynoglossum officinale
Identified by Paul Kennett on UK Botany (Yahoo Group)

not the Great Mullein, Verbascum thapsus

Bottom right:

On cleared ground just above the ridge

Great Mullein, Verbascum thapsus

ID by Richard Collingridge on UK Botany



16 September 2004
Community and Leisure Services Adur District Council Committee meeting
Management of Mill Hill and Lancing Ring

The Councillors passed the inadequate Management Plan prepared by the South Downs Conservation Board. This involves an asinine plan to graze cattle on Mill Hill Nature Reserve.

17 August 2004
IMPORTANT PUBLIC MEETING
Management of Mill Hill and Lancing Ring
Lancing Parish Hall, South Lancing
7:00 pm
This was a public meeting to proceed the Scrutiny Meeting as decided by the Council meeting on 4 May 2004. Adur Councillors have ignored the original Adur Council Committee decision to hold a Scrutiny Committee hearing where the evidence could be presented.



WILDLIFE REPORTS

Small Copper Butterfly16 September 2004
It took until just after midday before I saw my first Small Copper Butterfly of the year on a clump of Devil's Bit Scabious with at least three Meadow Brown Butterflies, one Small Heath, and two Common Blue Butterflies all at the same time, at the northern end of the lower slopes of Mill Hill. A few Dog Violets and at least one Dropwort was in flower out of their normal spring season.
Lower Slopes (Shoreham Bank) Report
Adur Butterfly List 2004
Adur Violets
Mill Hill: Extra Upper Slopes Images

Autumn Gentian5 September 2004
The small wild flower known as the Autumn Gentian was discovered on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Five Clouded Yellow Butterflies fluttered over the lower slopes at a low level and were not noticed settling.
Butterfly Report

4 September 2004
More Adonis Blue Butterflies could have emerged on the lower slopes of Mill Hill as I counted 31 and I think there were more as the females were harder to spot. In contrast the Chalkhill Blues were over with only eight definitely spotted. Common Blue Butterflies (25+) were also frequently seen on Mill Hill and these were almost as bright blue as the Adonis so novice and even practised butterfly watchers would need to separate the two. Two Clouded Yellow Butterflies were seen fluttering strongly over the short herbland on the steepest slopes. The only surprise was a late Peacock Butterfly (first September record) flying east to west south of the reservoir on Mill Hill. Ten different butterflies were seen around midday.
Full Butterfly & Moth Report
Adur Butterflies Flight Times

2 September 2004
At least 150 butterflies of seven different species were seen on Mill Hill in about twenty minutes, most of them on the lower slopes. These included 30+ Adonis Blues of both sexes, a few pristine, and others worn of various ages. The smaller than normal female Common Blues were noted and photographed, as well as the males. The female Chalkhill Blues were in a sorry state, mostly very worn and tattered.
Comprehensive Report
Adur Butterfly List 2004
Other noteworthy observations included Hairy Violets (originally thought to be Sweet Violets) in flower, Devil's Bit Scabious and an unidentified mushroom in amongst the herbs and grasses. I surprised a male Emperor Dragonfly in the scrub in the north-west which took flight rapidly. This was surprising inasmuch I rarely see this dragonfly at rest. There were a handful of Common Darters amongst the long grasses and a scorpion fly with a yellow abdomen, almost certainly Panorpa. The regular pair of Kestrels over the lower slopes flying high above the ridge were an impressive site.
Adur Violets
Fungi Report
Fungi of Shoreham
Scorpion Flies Notes (with image)

1 September 2004
A very cursory visit to the upper slopes of Mill Hill and the meadows to the north of the upper car park produced the fourth Hornet Robber Fly, Asilus crabroniformis, in a week in a different place, in the long grass meadows due north of the car park. And this time I caught a clear sight of its bright yellow abdomen as it flew off. (The cows had not been grazing in the field to the east this year.) Only the usual common butterflies of the upper slopes were present, including at least one Brown Argus, in the ten minute stopover.
Adur Butterfly List 2004

31 August 2004
The butterfly season looks like coming a close with very few flowering plants apart from Stemless Thistle and Carline Thistle attractive to them. Adonis Blues and Common Blues were around on the lower slopes in about equal numbers, about a dozen males each with the brown females hiding in the grass and the same number of Chalkhill Blues which were battered and worn. There were at least two Brown Argus Butterflies on the lower slopes with 20+ Small Heaths and few Small Whites. The Meadow Browns were worn with plenty of females and over 30 on the lower slopes and more of the females close to the scrub everywhere on the hill.
There were more 20+ Common Blues on the upper slopes with an Adonis Blue on a neighbouring flower and more of them with a handful of Brown Argus Butterflies, a further dozen Small Heaths and a handful of Speckled Woods amongst the scrub. A few very worn Chalkhill Blues were seen south of the reservoir.

The only dragonflies seen were a handful of Common Darters. Even from the top of the hill the Green Woodpecker could seen and heard flying and calling towards the Weeping Willows near the Waterworks House on the levels.

26 August 2004
The second brood Adonis Blue Butterflies were out on Mill Hill: a count of 29 males were recorded, all on the lower slopes. A similar number of at least 29 Chalkhill Blues were also out on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. The commonest butterflies were the Small Heaths with fifty plus. Other species included Meadow Browns, Common Blues, Holly Blues, Speckled Woods and Small Whites. There were unconfirmed possibles of at least one each of a Large White and a Brown Argus. The moth, in the photograph below, is frequently seen and is one of the Treble-bars, Aplocera.
Adur Butterfly List 2004
Moth Thumbnails
 
A moth frequently seen, this one was from the lower slopes A worn Adonis Blue (male) Agaricus? on the bare earth in the copse on Mill Hill

Still overcast after the deluge of 24 August 2004, the soaking had resulted in mushrooms appearing of three different species, probably Conocybe in the horse's field south-west of the bridge, a still unidentified mushroom on the lower slopes and the first species I have discovered on the bare earth under the canopy of broad-leaved (Italian Alder, Beech, Norway Maple) and evergreen (Corsican Pine) trees in the copse on the top of the hill. This latter species illustrated on the far right underneath has not yet been identified although it resembled the Edible Mushroom in appearance, although the gills were lighter in colour (they could and are even expected to darken later). They were inconspicuous as a white dome almost parallel with the ground. I have tentatively identified it a species of Agaricus but I have so often wrong with fungi, I hesitate to make any suggestions.

The illustrated Agaricus species of mushroom in the photographs immediately above (far right) looks like the Field Mushroom, Agaricus campestris. There are other species it could be including the Wood Mushroom, Agaricus silvicola, the less common Agaricus bitorquis or the coastal species Agaricus bernardii.
Fungi of Shoreham

A Green Woodpecker called drawing attention to itself as it flew with a characteristic dipping flight over the Old Erringham pasture to the north-west of Mill Hill Nature Reserve. In the scrub in the north-west a Chiffchaff was seen in an Elderberry BushI had a close look through my binoculars at the hovering Kestrel parallel to the ridge edge as it hovered and then descended. I was struck by the thick black border on the wings, both on the upperside and underwing.

22 August 2004
Wall Brown ButterflyThe road embankment on the south side of the A27 flyover as it crosses the Waterworks Road (at the edge of the horse's field) hosted two female Chalkhill Blue Butterflies crawling over the small prostrate leaves of Horseshoe Vetch. They seem to have a preference for the prostrate form of Horseshoe Vetch rather than the upright form/variety on the Slonk Hill bank. Altogether Mill Hill provided a count of just 14 male and 14 female Chalkhill Blues in the late afternoon. This is likely to be an understatement as the females are much harder to see. Most, but not all were on the lower slopes. Carline Thistle was a noted nectar plant favoured by the butterflies. Some Chalkhill Blues were already settling down to roost in the longer grasses on the upper slopes.
Other butterflies in order of prevalence included Meadow Browns (50+), Common Blues (40+), Small Heaths (35+), Speckled Woods in the scrub (12+) a few Small Whites, a handful of Brown Argus, at least four Wall Browns and one Painted Lady.
Adur Butterfly and Large Moth List 2004
A female Emperor Dragonfly cruised amongst the scrub with a handful of Common Darters.

The transect walk along the lower slopes took 15 minutes, but it took a further 35 minutes to climb the hill to the copse and to return to the reservoir area.

Hornet Robber FlyHornet Robber Fly, Asilus crabroniformis, (a Biodiversity Action Plan species), a rare rather menacing looking large flying predatory insect associated in this case with horse's dung and reputed to prey on the dung insects, settled on the path (the footpath from the Waterworks Road next to the Horse's Fields on the way to Mill Hill) in front of me, the second one of these flies I had seen in the last few days. It is a strong flyer.

Identification by Malcolm Storey on British Insects Yahoo Group


20 August 2004
As a Kestrel hovered constantly over the lower slopes at a height parallel to the ridge in the warm (21.3 ºC) fresh breeze (Force 5); it was too windy for many butterflies and at the end of the Chalkhill Blue flight period with just 40 butterflies (28 male and 12 female), with almost half of them in the Triangle are of the upper slopes.

16 August 2004
I visited the upper slopes of Mill Hill for the primary purpose of photographing the underwings of the small brown blue butterflies to make sure I had identified the female Common Blue Butterflies and the Brown Argus Butterflies correctly.
 
Female Common Blue
Brown Argus Butterfly

The underwing views confirmed my original identifications (on the underside hind wing of the Brown Argus two of the spots line up to form a colon). The Brown Argus Butterflies were usually smaller, although occasionally very small Common Blue Butterflies occurred. They were all intermingled and chose the same nectar plants and occasionally sparred with each other. The Brown Argus Butterflies were quicker to open their wings on an overcast day, but the Common Blues did this readily as well, just not as quickly.
More Images
Brown Argus Identification Notes

But what are the caterpillars feeding on because there does seem to be there usually quoted food plants on Mill Hill? The Millennium Butterfly Atlas lists Common Rock-rose, Helianthemum nummularium, is used almost exclusively on calcareous grassland. In other habitats it uses annual foodplants, mainly Dove's-foot Crane's-bill Geranium molle and Common Stork's-billErodium cicutarium. There are also recent reports of egg-laying on Cut-leaved Crane's-bill G. dissectum, Meadow Crane's-bill G. pratense, and Hedgerow Crane's-bill G. pyrenaicum.
Meadow Crane's-bill on Mill Hill
Brown Argus (Butterfly Conservation)

PS:  I am not sure that Common Rock-rose is strictly a plant of chalklands as it is found in minute amounts on clay locally and Dove's-foot Crane's-bill is found by the sea, near the Old Shoreham Waterworks, in Shoreham town on the grass verges, and in very isolated and small amounts on a meadow near Beeding Hill.

The location of the adult Brown Argus Butterflies on Mill Hill supports the feeding on Meadow Crane's-bill, Geranium pratense.

The commonest butterflies mostly hiding in the long grasses near the car park were Common Blues with an estimated 150 seen and many more in hiding. The Chalkhill Blues were past their best with 45, 39 on the lower slopes and 6 above the ridge.  Other butterflies in order of prevalence were both male and female Meadow Browns and Small Heaths, with over a dozen Brown Argus Butterflies, a handful of Small Whites, a few Large Whites, a few Speckled Woods in the wooded areas, two Painted Ladies, one or two Wall Browns, and a solitary Adonis Blue looking very bright and large flying over the area I have christened as the Triangle. Skippers and Gatekeepers were not seen.
Adur Butterfly and Large Moth List 2004

A Dor Beetle lay injured and dying on the chalk path.
Images
Adur Beetles

There was a Migrant Hawker over the top of Chanctonbury Drive south-east of the bridge, and a Common Darter near the reservoir.
Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies

13 August 2004
Twelve (eight on the upper slopes of Mill Hill) species of butterflies were recorded on an unfavourable day with a Strong Breeze approaching Gale Force on the downs and rain showers. Over fifty Common Blues made them the commonest butterflies amongst the long grasses on the upper slopes, and they were all smallish including frequent females that appeared very orangey in flight because of their underside markings. A Wall Brown was notable in the meadow north of the car park, with a Brown Argus briefly seen in flight
Adur Butterfly List 2004

7 August 2004
In a heatwave (25.3 ºC), it was disappointing as I seemed to have missed the peak for the emergence of the Chalkhill Blue Butterflies this year. On the lower slopes of Mill Hill; my estimated count was about 175 evenly distributed over the slopes with a few in the long grasses on the top, giving a total number of about 500.
 
Brown Argus from Mill Hill Wayfaring Tree Mill Hill lower slopes showing the Wayfaring Tree in the foreground

As a bonus there were plenty of other butterflies around, including a few Brown Argus Butterflies, my first confirmed sighting of this species from Mill Hill, the absence of white lunules nearer than the linear orange spots to edge of the upper wing distinctive and separating these from the female Common Blue Butterflies. Male Common Blue Butterflies exceeded one hundred in the long grasses, mostly north of the car park. At the northern end of the lower slopes a pristine Adonis Blue was immediately distinctive from the Chalkhill Blues, which were all worn and battered to some extent. Wall Browns numbered about ten mostly just south of the reservoir where the Cocksfoot is, it was difficult to be sure of their numbers with their repeated sparring with the Meadow Browns. Small Heath Butterflies were frequently seen, and their numbers must have been underestimated before. Fifteen species of butterfly were seen around midday.
There was also a Digger Wasp, Cerceris rybyensis, that ambushed a small bee (Image).

Wasp ID  by Matt Smith on British Insects (Yahoo Group)
Mill Hill Nature Reserve
Adur Butterfly List 2004
Brown Argus Identification Notes

2 August 2004
I visited Anchor Bottom, (Dacre gardens entrance), near Upper Beeding, for a comparative look at the lower part of this downland, which in historical times, before the "improvement" and cattle gazing, had a reputation for butterflies. Dodging the cow pats in the long coarse grasses, I observed just a dozen butterflies of four species, including one smaller than usual Chalkhill Blue.
I also visited the Slonk Hill North road embankment which contains an expanse of more upright Horseshoe Vetch which is within the dispersal area of Mill Hill Chalkhill Blues, but despite being established for over 30 years, this area was noted by a complete absence of butterflies and no Chalkhill Blues, not even a vagrant was seen.
In contrast a small garden plot sized area of road embankment south-east of the bridge over the by-pass to Mill Hill contained twenty male Chalkhill Blues.

The conclusions I drew were:


1 August 2004
By far the largest Slow Worm I have ever seen was basking on the chalk path that leads down to the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Coiled, it completely covered the path, and it must have sensed the vibrations of my approach, as it uncoiled and slid off into the wayside scrubbery, revealing its length to be at least 30 cm.

On the lower slopes, I must a have missed a few emergences and the Chalkhill Blue Butterflies I attempted to count and eventually arrived at a estimate of about 225 on the half transect ramble. This would make me estimate about 600 Chalkhill Blues on the hill. They were already beginning to disperse. Females were frequently discovered but they could be outnumbered by about ten to one by the blue males. Many of the Chalkhill Blues were worn, not yet frayed at the edges, but none seemed to be in new pristine condition. A few of the Chalkhill Blue Butterflies had an extensive brown tinge on the wings. Fifteen different species of butterfly were seen during the day.  Two second brood Brimstone Butterflies were on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, although one was in the scrub to the north.
Adur Butterfly List

A Green Woodpecker flew arrow-like along the top of the ridge calling loudly.

27 July 2004
Visits to Mill Hill late in the afternoon always find a reduced tally of butterflies and a quick walk around the lower slopes was no exception with just 35 Chalkhill Blues positively counted on the lower slopes with another five mixed with half a dozen Common Blues on the longer grasses of the upper slopes. It is still a bit early for the Chalkhill Blue emergence. The second and third appearance of Wall Browns this year was the only other notable observation, once on a bramble bush as the trail branches off into the area I have christened the Triangle and the other seen on the path by the reservoir. No Marbled Whites showed.
Adur Butterfly List 2004

24 July 2004
Chalkhill Blues (Photograph by Andy Horton)A steady Moderate Breeze (Force 4) from the south-west were not the ideal conditions for butterflies on the exposed downs. The approximate count of eighty Chalkhill Blue Butterflies (males 79, females 1), all but two on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, indicated the peak time was probably still at least a week off. The Common Blue Butterflies were now beginning on the upper meadows with about a dozen fluttering around, but the Marbled Whites were passed their peak with only eight seen in flight amongst the longer grasses on the Mill Hill plateau. Large Whites were very frequently seen. Eleven different species were seen on Mill Hill, plus a Comma Butterfly was seen in the Chanctonbury Drive (Dovecote Estate) just to the south-east of Mill Hill bridge.
Mill Hill Nature Reserve
Adur Butterfly List 2004

19 July 2004
In the hedgerows and on the road embankments and scrubby parts of Mill Hill, Gatekeeper Butterflies were the commonest species around with well over a hundred. Chalkhill Blues were now appearing in dribs and drabs with 32 males and one female counted. Just three males were on the upper slopes and the rest on the lower slopes. This is contrast to Marbled Whites which prefer the longer grass with 20 counted on the upper slopes and just two flying over the hedgerows on the lower slopes.

There were over 40 Six-spot Burnet Moths. Ten different species of butterfly were recorded on Mill Hill.
Adur Burnet Moths
 
6-spot Burnet Moth Silver Y Moth,  Autographa gamma

The smaller Skippers were plentiful and I still do not know if these are the Small or Essex Skippers? (Image).
A new image has been placed in the central spot above; an enlargement is possible by clicking on the image. If you can discern the sex markings on the wing, their angle (more parallel, less oblique, to the edge of the wing) seems to indicate an Essex Skipper. (This has not confirmed by expert opinion.)

Adur Butterflies
Adur Butterfly List (including the Database)
Adur Butterfly Database (17-31 July 2004)
Adur Biodiversity Network: Butterflies, Direct Entry Database

17 July 2004
A male Black-headed Bunting, Emberiza melanocephala, appeared in my garden near Mill Hill, Old Shoreham in the morning. This yellow-breasted bird with a black head is a rare vagrant.
SOS Records
Sussex Image from 1995

Report by Stanley Allen on Sussex Ornithological News


NB: This does look like a bird I saw on 2 June 2003 and again in July 2003 near the horse's field south-west of the bridge, eventually identified as a Yellowhammer (although subsequent Yellowhammers have looked nothing like it).

15 July 2004
Hoverfly, Syrphus spHalf a dozen Swifts put on an acrobatic display over the ridge of Mill Hill. On the lower slopes 8+ Chalkhill Blue Butterflies were my first of this year. Altogether there were 15 Marbled White Butterflies counted on the downs, but more are expected to be hiding in the long grasses and common meadow plants. More butterflies and moth, bumblebees, hoverflies and other flying bugs were all out in their hundreds. The hoverfly Syrphus possibly vitripennis ? was found in the meadow of long grasses north of the upper car park.
On the upper slopes of Mill Hill, there was a very faded 6-spotted Burnet Moth photographed.
AnEssex Skipperwas identified from a photograph by Guy Padfield on UK Butterflies
Full Butterfly List
Adur Skippers
Adur Hoverflies

12 July 2004

TheGatekeeper

According to MBGBI Vol 7 part 1, it was first called the Gatekeeper by Harris in 1766. Hedge Brown doesn't appear to have arrived until Frohawk in 1924. It has had many other vernacular names over the years including Hedge Eye with double Specks (sic), Orange Field, Clouded Argus and Small Meadow Brown.
Original Message

Comment by Paul Boswell on UK Leps (Yahoo Group)
Gatekeeper (male) on Mill Hill

On an overcast morning Gatekeeper Butterflies were in the hedgerows, their numbers undetermined (about a dozen were noted) but not nearly at their maximum, and just eight Marbled Whites were observed on Mill Hill near the reservoir (although the upper slope meadows near the car park were not visited) with just the one Small Skipper fluttering around in the same area (which was the same area as the possible Small Skipper on 21 June 2004.) The photographs were taken in the bank of Hardheads (Lesser Knapweed), Cocksfoot and other long grasses immediately south-east of the reservoir.
The prevalent small orange beetles seen are Rhagonycha fulva (a Soldier Beetle, Cantharidae).

There was a small unidentified mushroom in the grass by the path in the dog mess zone on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. The best suggestion was the species Stropharia coronilla.
Images
Message on the British Fungi Group
Fungi of Shoreham

10 July 2004
The first Chalkhill Blue Butterflies of 2004 are seen on Mill Hill. Two blues emerged in the morning.

Report by Brianne Reeve via Jim Steedman
Adur First Butterfly Dates 2004

9 July 2004
The first Stemless Thistle was in flower above the ridge and the count of eleven Marbled White Butterflies near the reservoir and on the lower slopes would have been higher on an overcast day if I had not been disturbed by an excessive number of dogs.

6 July 2004
 
Greater Knapweed Marbled Whites (Photograph by Andy Horton)

About eight Marbled White Butterflies were spotted on the upper slopes with a further three on the lower slopes. This was thought to be only a sample of a more numerous population (up to 50) of these prominent butterflies that were mating in the area around of and just north of the reservoir. The brown front edge of the wing shown in the photograph is not usually seen in this species.
Mill Hill: Extra Images
Lower Slopes Report
A handful of the first Gatekeeper Butterflies of 2004 were to be seen in the scrub.
Adur Butterfly List
Adur First Butterfly Dates 2003-2004
Adur Butterflies Flight Times

LINK TO THE MILL HILL WILDLIFE REPORTS  FOR WINTER & SPRING 2004



16 SPECIES OF BUTTERFLIES DEPENDENT ON MILL HILL FOR BREEDING:
(Estimated numbers for Mill Hill Nature Reserve only are in brackets)
 
Chalkhill Blue (3000 +)
Adonis Blue (50 -100)
Dingy Skipper  (75)
Small Heath (250)
Wall Brown  (12)
Meadow Brown  (300)
Marbled White  (50)
Gatekeeper     (200)
Speckled Wood  (50)
Common Blue  (1000)
Small Blue       (5)
Brimstone        (8)
Small Skipper   (50)
Large Skipper   (10)
Grizzled Skipper  (20)
Brown Argus   (30)

The other species may breed on Mill Hill, but there main breeding area will be adjoining fields or slightly further away. e.g. Small Blue (included above), Small Copper, Small Tortoiseshell, Green-veined White, Peacock, Ringlet, Small White, Large White, Comma, Holly Blue, Orange Tip. (10)

The following are immigrants &/or hibernators:  Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Clouded Yellow.

The following have not been positively identified (because of ID difficulties):  Essex Skipper. This species may now be included for a local field on the Adur Levels within 500 metres of Mill Hill.

(30)

The following may occur but it has not been positively identified (because it is elusive and hard to spot): Green Hairstreak.

The next one is no longer found on Mill Hill but were there in the recent past: Dark Green Fritillary
The next one is no longer found on Mill Hill but were there in the distant past: Grayling.

(33)

Adur Butterfly Page



LINK TO THE MILL HILL WILDLIFE REPORTS  FOR WINTER & SPRING 2004

Link to the Mill Hill WILDLIFE REPORTS up to 2003
with lots of Butterfly observations

Lower Slopes (with Butterfly Reports)

Mill Hill Nature Reserve (including map)

MultiMap Aerial Photograph of Mill Hill

Back to Mill Hill
Triangle
Upper Slopes
Middle Slopes
Lower Slopes
Grasses of Mill Hill
Mill Hill Copse

History of Mill Hill
 

Aerial Map
Lower Adur Levels (MultiMap) including Lancing Clump and Mill Hill

Hippocrepis comosa (Horseshoe Vetch)
 
 

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2004 Index pageLink to Adur Valley Nature Notes 2003Latest Nature Notes and Index page 2002