Pixie Path 2006
Footpath 3138 approach to Mill Hill from the Waterworks Road. Formerly part of the original Mill Hill, although the horse grazing (Frampton's Field) field was ploughed up in the late fifties. This page will include some reports from the Mill Hill Cutting adjacent to the path when it runs west to east. The path itself has always been a "Right of Way". This is on chalk. There are rabbit burrows undermining the path. 


Link to the Pixie Path Reports 2007

17 December 2006
The limit of interest was a Pied Wagtail feeding on insects (presumably) the horse's dung heap in Frampton's Field and a small flightless beetle known as Paederus littoralis crawling over the upright Chestnut fencing.

13 December 2006
In Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham, the horses and the pony are receiving supplementary feeds of hay and churning up the soil. The Pixie Path at the southern lower end is muddy.

Episyrphus balteatus21 November 2006

A Marmalade Hoverfly, Episyrphus balteatus, was spotted on a remaining Greater Knapweed flower. Two lone flowers on a stem of Milkwort were seen in flower on the path.
Adur Hoverflies
 
16 November 2006
Two late Greater Knapweed flowers and a late Milkwort were seen in flower on the path.
 
23 October 2006
Two Red Admiral Butterflies were disturbed from amongst Stinging Nettles on the western edge (next to the steep vegetated drop down to the Waterworks Road) of the Pixie Path to Mill Hill, a 7-spotted Ladybird on Yarrow, a young Common Lizard (with a shortened tail) skittered along the bottom rung of the Chestnut fencing on the northern side of the path and a one Common Darter (dragonfly) was seen near the top of the path (where the stile was). There was a few flies, bumblebees, bees and Common Wasp workers.
Adur Butterfly & Moth List 2006
 

16 October 2006
There were a couple of Greater Knapweed flowers still in flower (in the centre of the south-north part of the path) attracting a hoverfly and a bumblebee.
 
12 October 2006
A pair of Great Tits sang from a Priveton the road (A27) bank of the Pixie Path; the other shrubs/trees were Holly, Bramble, Hawthorn, Dog Rose, Wayfaring Tree, all with berries and Sycamore. These are the likely ecological successors on poor chalk soil (with Dogwood and Ash added on deeper soil on Mill Hill). On the path there were two small Ribbed Melilot in flower. Seven Red Admiral Butterflies, one bright Comma Butterfly and a worn and tattered Large White Butterfly were seen in the hazy sunshine.
Full Butterfly Report


3 October 2006
After the gales and the rain, butterflies were seen including four Red Admirals on the Ivy, one Comma Butterfly that sparred with the Red Admirals and settled on the chestnut fencing, and a ragged Common Blue on the path.
 
Red Admiral

The small Holly Trees were in berry at the top of the road bank adjacent to the footpath.

10 September 2006
A Hornet Robber Fly with prey landed briefly on the Pixie Path. Three Crows with patches of white on their wings and one larger all-black Carrion Crow, were seen together in Frampton's Field.

Crows in Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham


4 September 2006
The two or more Crows with patches of white on their wings were regulars at the southern end of Frampton's Field amongst the horses (nearer The Street twitten).

(I did not take to route to Mill Hill.)

30 August 2006
One of the spectacular hoverflies Volucella zonaria actually landed on my bicycle tyre as I was wheeled my bike up the Pixie Path to Mill Hill.
 
Violet Ground Beetle, Carabus violaceus
Volucella zonaria

A Violet Ground Beetle, Carabus violaceus, hid underneath the discarded chestnut fencing on the Pixie Path.

Another Rabbit looked as though it was blind in Frampton's Field with the disease Myxomatosis. A large Crow was nearby, perhaps waiting for the Rabbit to die? After less than a minute the Rabbit ran more slowly than normal to shelter.

27 August 2006
Another diseased adult Rabbit was spotted at the top of its burrow in the north-west corner of Frampton's Field. It looked as though it was fatally ill with Myxomatosis.

6 August 2006
 
Female Chalkhill Blue on the Mill Hill Cutting. Chalkhill Blues on the Mill Hill Cutting

 
On this visit, I attempted to count the Chalkhill Blues on the small garden-sized area of the Mill Hill Cutting (SW end by the path up to the Pixie Path). This was far from easy as the butterflies were very lively and the males were chasing the hidden females. I arrived at a figure of 25 males and 4 females, which was a count, but a bit of an estimate as some had to be excluded in case they were counted twice. Roughtly it was the number of blues that could be seen simultaneously with the females added on. The error margin is minus 5 and plus 15, so the total is 24 to 44 seen. Mating activity was observed with three groups of two males and a female simultaneously amongst the prostrate Horsehoe Vetch and Cotoneaster all weaved in together.
 
Hornet Robber A Hornet Robber Fly, Asilus crabroniformis, caught a Greenbottle and landed briefly on the Pixie Path. The Greenbottles were attracted by about a dozen to a dog's faex and the predatory insect pounced. This large fly was quick to fly off. This is a Biodiversity Action Plan species.
(TQ 210 064)
Adur Flies
5 August 2006
Two Crows that flew across Frampton's Field at the southern end amongst the horses (nearer The Street twitten) had predominantly grey upper wings which could be seen clearly as the flew at low level.
 
4 August 2006
A female Ruddy Darter greeted me on the Pixie Path near Mill Hill.
 

Female Chalkhill Blue looking for a place to lay her eggs30 July 2006
Chalkhill Blue Butterflies were seen fluttering around on the Mill Hill Cutting, (SW end with the small patch of Horseshoe Vetch) and the number was estimated at least fifty, which was by far the most ever for this small location (medium back garden-sized area). There was too many for an accurate count. Females were included at about five (10%) and the Horseshoe Vetch leaves on this crumbly bank is all intertwined with the prostrate Cotoneaster. One of the Chalkhill Blues (a female) seemed to have something wrong with it. It was static and was shunned by the other butterflies and when courted the other male fluttered off rapidly and this butterfly just crawled and did not fly (even when tickled). All the other butterflies, even the females were very lively. This may have just been a female ready to lay its eggs though (it probably was). I think they may use colour cues to choose the location and in this case it was on the Cotoneaster and needed to find the Horseshoe Vetch leaves.
 

30 July 2006
A Hornet Robber Fly landed briefly on the Pixie Path.
Adur Flies


23 July 2006
Over a dozen Chalkhill Blue Butterflies was seen fluttering around on the Mill Hill Cutting, (SW end with the small patch of Horseshoe Vetch). There was one definite female and it was difficult to count them. The Pixie Path had relatively few insects: a  Speckled Wood Butterfly a handful of Gatekeepers, one or two Meadow Brown Butterflies and Six-spot Burnet Moths.

Butterfly Report
 
3 July 2006
A medium to large dragonfly flew rapidly over the bridge over the A27 to Mill Hill. It flew too fast to be identified.
 
12 June 2006
The path has been cleared of the obstructive vegetation (mostly Alexanders and Stinging Nettles). The chestnut fence paling had been thrown over the fence on to the road embankment. I have now replaced it in its original position for the fauna that lives under it.
 
Kidney Vetch with Small Blue11 June 2006
A fluttering of red on the upper part of the Pixie Path was my first Cinnabar Moth of 2006. There was the red of the Grass Vetchling flowering on the sides of the path as well. Wild Thyme was noted on the southern bank of the Mill Hill Cutting. A Grasshopper was seen for the first time this year. This was almost certainly the Meadow Grasshopper, Chorthippus parallelus.
Adur Grasshoppers
 

2 June 2006
A Merodon equestris hoverfly landed repeatedly on the the Pixie Path. A Devil's Coach Horse Beetle was seen underneath the discarded chestnut fencing.
Adur Hoverflies 2006
Adur Beetles 2006
 
28 May 2006
The part of the path that runs north-south was almost completely overgrown with Alexanders and Stinging Nettles and passage was difficult. Two Common Lizards were seen near the discarded chestnut fencing.
 
15 May 2006
A Green Woodpecker flew over Frampton's Field. Two Silver Y Moths were seen on the path.
Adur Moths
 
14 May 2006

A small shiny black spider under the discarded chestnut fencing was possibly one of several species. It could be Zelotes sp. 

Adur Spiders

ID notes re above 
(ID under investigation)
 

12 May 2006
A Crow was feeding in Frampton's Field at the southern end near the horses. 

Corvids seen in this field are mostly Crows, Jackdaws and Magpies, but Jays and Rooks have been seen. 

7 May 2006
 
Common Mouse-ear Leucozona lucorum Longhorn Moth
 

The Alexanders, Smyrnium olustratum manage to attract so many flies, moths and flying insects that it is impossible to record them all. A first hoverfly of the attractive Leucozona lucorum was one of them. Crane-flies were noted. Tilius elongatus small black flies and larger Lucilla Blow-flies were present on the Alexanders.
Adur Mouse-ears & Chickweeds
 
26 April 2006
A pair of Peacock Butterflies settled on the discarded Chestnut fence paling, where a pair of Common Lizards, large adults with intact tails were spotted.
 
Common Lizard
 
The lizards hid amongst the undergrowth making photography difficult, but they did not skit away as quickly as expected.
There were lots of flying insects on and around the path including Syrphus, Eristalis and smaller hoverflies, blow-flies, green Dolichopodidae or Thick-headed flies, Dung-flies, a queen Wasp and other very small flies on the Alexanders, Smyrnium olustratum. This umbelliferalso hosted 7-spot Ladybirds and large black Ants (pics).
Adur Ants
 
24 April 2006
A handful of Dog Violets were showing on the path, but otherwise it was as usual, although the Pill Bugs (a wood louse) had increased to about twenty under the discarded chestnut fencing. The Yellow Meadow Ants and beetles Paederus littoralis were still present as well. A Sparrowhawk flew low over Frampton's Field and then settled on a fence post. It is unusual to see a Sparrowhawk so far out in the open. At first I thought it was a Kestrel quartering the ground (if that is the right term?) like a Sparrowhawk. (pic).
 

Pill Bug (an Isopod)9 April 2006
At the top of the Butterfly Copse, a flowering ornamental Cherry Tree attracted scores of Andrena bees, altogether at least one hundred and most of them amongst the flowers high in the tree and out of camera range. Around midday Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly over Frampton's Field (Old Shoreham). It was one of the dark red ones rather than the bright orange. There were three Pill Bugs (a wood louse) as well as smaller Wood Lice underneath the discarded chestnut fencing. The Yellow Meadow Ants and beetles Paederus littoralis were still present as well.
Adur Bees
 
6 April 2006
The Yellow Meadow Ants (also erronously known as Red Ants) Lasius flavus
were milling underneath the discarded chestnut fencing.

At least three beetles Paederus littoralis were still present as well.
 

 
Trochosa
 
28 March 2006
Spring is just beginning. Underneath the discarded chestnut fencing the small spider Trochosa sp. ran rapidly to try and find cover. This is a widespread spider. Amongst the other lichens there were handful of clumps of the distinctive Ramalina farinacea mostly on the erect chestnut fencing.
Adur Spiders
 
Signs of Spring

Cherry ? (flowers before Blackthorn/Sloe Bush)  (left)
Top of Chanctonbury Drive

 Pussy Willow (right)
Top of the Pixie Path

22 March 2006
At least three beetles Paederus littoralis were still present underneath the discarded fencing.

2 March 2006
I surprised a bluish Sparrowhawk perched on a branch in the spinney between the top plateau of Chanctonbury Drive (SE of the bridge over the A27 to Mill Hill) and the A27. This is on the edge of the Mill Hill Cutting.  I got as close as two metres before the raptor flew off, but it was well camouflaged and it was not until I was three metres from it, did I see the bird of prey at all. It was much bigger with marked hooded eyes than the familar Kestrel and I estimated its height at 40 cm. This is much larger than the book size of the male which is only record to 30 cm.
There was another (or the same one) of the caterpillar of one of two Xestia Rustic Moths. It was discovered in the same place as the other one, under the discarded chestnut fence strut. (image)  A beetle Paederus littoralis was seen with frequent (about fifty) Woodlice under the strut.
Adur Moths

10 February 2006
Underneath the discarded chestnut fence strut on the Pixie Path to Mill Hill and illustrated on the right, the caterpillar is likely to be either one of the (2133) Six-striped Rustic Xestia sexstrigata or the (2134) Square-spot Rustic Moth Xestia xanthographa, both common species with caterpillars that feed on a variety of grasses (and other plants if available) during mild winters. Porter in "Caterpillars of the British Isles" states that larvae of the two species cannot be separated.
Lincolnshire Moths (including the larva and adult of the Square-spot Rustic Moth)

Identification by Ben Smart & A Dale on the UK Moths (Yahoo Group)
& Trevor Boyd (Butterfly Conservation, Northern Ireland) on the UK-Leps (Yahoo Group)
Adur Moths
UK Moths

A Great Tit flew amongst the bare Hawthorn. A beetle Paederus littoralis was collected.

30 January 2006
There were fifty plus Lapwings in Frampton's Field with a few Crows and Common Gulls. There was one beetle Paederus littoralis under the discarded chestnut fence strut.

Paederus littoralis18 January 2006
A bee-sized fly, or was it a Carder Bumblebee? flew off Frampton's Field that seemed to have more dung* than horses. Under the discarded Chestnut fencing on the Pixie Path, most of the dozen wood lice and a few spiders scampered off too quickly for the camera. One colourful Rove Beetle (Staphylinida) was slower and is shown on the left. There were three or four of these flightless beetles known as Paederus littoralis with four small cream coloured slugs (not caterpillars) and a small snail. These beetles contain a fluid called paederin which can cause the skin to peel and is more serious if it comes into contact with your eyes. There are examples of serious dermatitis caused by this substance (beetle juice).
Adur Beetles

(* There was enough dung to alter the flora. It is usually piled up into mounds.)

13 January 2006
There were Wood Lice (not Pill Bugs) under the discarded Chestnut fencing on the Pixie Path, but I did not attempt to find put which species of isopod as they looked like the common species found in gardens. These were my first terrestrial arthropods (Crustacea) I have seen this year.
 
There appears to be new growths of the Cladonia Pixie Cup Lichens on the broken chestnut fencing at the top of the path by the tall garden hedge.

The green leaves are called "squamules" from which the "podentia" grow. I am not sure of the identity of these lichens without the reference but they could be Cladonia coniocrae.

Adur Lichens

Link to Pixieland 2005


Adur Lichens
Waterworks Road and Pixie Path 2005



Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2006 web pages