the River Adur there was the usual collection
of common gulls and waders;
most noticeable were the Greater
Black-backed Gulls and Lapwings
the tide was low and the mud flats revealed. There
were a few Grey Plovers.
portulacoides, is a small greyish-green
shrub abundantly found on the mud flats of the
Adur that are even covered twice daily
by ther neap tides, but also nearer the high tide
margins. It is a halophyte
with leaves with a silvery sheen filled with air (not sap) and are dead
when the plant reaches maturity.
= Daughter of the Sea (Greek)
the return journey (from Lancing
the tide had receded revealing some of the mud flats on which a pair of
were courting, running around together, flying short distances in unison
and swimming together in the shallow river, like ducks.
all rose in unison from the mudflats on the River Adur
north of the
Toll Bridge, spooked
by a female Sparrowhawk
seen above the trees near Ricardos. The Sparrowhawk
was seen much closer from the Coombes Road over the Ricardos testing ground.
perched on a fence near Cuckoo's Corner. In the field to the north a few
hundred Common Gulls
rested on the ploughed Broad Bean field, occasionally rising up in unison
for no reason that could be ascertained.
a cloudy day with spots of rain there
were scores of Greater Black-backed Gulls
and occasional Grey Plovers
on the mudflats at mid neap tide south of the Toll
wheeled around waiting to land when more of the mud was exposed.
were two Oystercatchers
feeding over the mud flats south of the Toll
Bridge with hundreds of gulls.
were mostly a mixture of Common
Gulls, with frequent Herring
Gulls and occasional Greater
were thousands of birds on the River
Adur at low tide,
notably thousands of Lapwings,
thousands of medium-sized gulls, mainly Common
Gulls, hundreds of Dunlins,
occasional Grey Plover,
a few Cormorants
and Mute Swans,
scores of Great Black-backed Gulls andhundreds
of Black-headed Gulls
all noted in the area between the Railway
Viaduct and Cuckoo's Corner.
Thousands of Common Gulls
settled on the ploughed field north of Cuckoo's Corner.
low tide on the mud flats opposite Coronation
Green in Shoreham town,
a handful of Grey Plovers
were feeding on the southern bank in the middle of the River
Adur, before a Redshank
and a band of about ten Turnstones
appeared on the near bank, constantly on the move, literally turning over
the small stones in search of morsels. A Cormorant,
a Little Egret,
a few Dunlins
and immature Herring Gulls
were noted. A pair of Mute Swans
flew overhead calling loudly.
up the estuary on the main part of the river
in the vicinity of Cuckoo's Corner
there were about three hundred gulls,
which were mainly Common Gulls,
but contained other species including Great
Black-backed Gulls. A Cow
wandered down to the exposed mud flats and began to drink from the tidal
hovered over the Sea Purslane
at low tide south of Old Shoreham Tollbridge
and then descended. The target prey was not determined.
the rain I ventured out as the spring tide nearly
lapped against the banks of the Adur estuary. Just
south of the Toll
Bridge there was still a margin of vegetation
above the high tide mark on the east side of the river, with Orache and
other wild grasses and plants and this area hosted dozens of active grasshoppers
that appeared to jump at least of metre. They looked slightly different
from the two commonly found on the downs meadows
and wastelands on the edge of town.
I think some of them are probably the Lesser
upper tidal zone of the mud-flats contained Sea Purslane and Glasswort
in prevalent amounts and bunches of Townsend's
low tide means that it is just about possible to examine some of the plants
on the flats without squelching through the soft mud.
patches of what is probably Townsend's
Cord Grass, Spartina townsendii,
were found south-east of the Toll
Bridge. Townsend's Cord Grass
has a particulary interesting origin (see the Reader's Digest "Secrets
of the Seashore" page 75, a new plant species evolving in the nineteenth
the prolonged hot and dry spell for the complete month of July, the mud
flats on the part of the River Adur that runs through the centre of Shoreham-by-Sea,
West Sussex, turned green with a rapid spread of the salt tolerant green
plant known as the Common Glasswort,
This plant is collected for food when it is known as Marsh Samphire, and
is meant to be a poor man's asparagus. It tastes like a mouthful of seawater
to me. The plant roots in the estuarine mud in salinities
of about 3.2% but variable from full salinity with an incoming spring tide,
to fresh water running out over the top of the sea water.
green plant has cylindrical stems with paired branches like the stems which
are the leaves. As the year goes on the stems and branches turn a slight
yellowish hue in autumn. The small flowers are the same colour as the rest
of the plant and are inconspicuous. All the plants occur outside of the
main stream of the river near mean low water mark. The seeds need exposure
to air to germinate and will not establish if they are permanently submerged.
the riverbank, Sea Purslane, Halimione portulacoides, predominates.
It is easily distinguished from Glasswort because its conventional leaves
have a silvery sheen.
maritima, is extremely frequently to be found, and the
tripolium, also commonly occurs.
Sea Lavender, Limonium vulgare was introduced, but may no longer
occur. The Cord Grass, Spartina spp. occurs.
the river opposite Ropetackle (Between the Norfolk bridge
and the Railway Viaduct), in the pools between the mussel
beds at low tide, small clumps of Irish Moss, Chondrus crispus,
grow on the mussel and oyster shells and small flint rocks. This red seaweed
is usually a dark brown, sometimes with a slightly iridescent hue, and
in very bright sunlight, the weed will turn green at the tips and stranded
specimens are often bright green as shown in the image (above) scanned
in by David Wood (Shoreham Beach).
Furrow Shell Scrobicularia plana