lunchtime an Osprey
flew over the River Adur by Shoreham
Airport. I watched it for about ten minutes before it was mobbed by
It dived into the river twice but didn't appear to catch anything.
five days of inclement weather, the cool chill wind from the north gave
an autumny feel with the leaves of the Sycamore
beginning to turn brown. Butterflies were
discouraged, had died or hibernated, and only on the lower slopes of Mill
Hill were any to be seen in flight visiting the few nectar plants available
on the downs. Meadow
the only one of the five species
to be frequently seen. New shoots of
were seen on about a dozen occasions on the lower slopes of Mill Hill (the
first time I had noted this occurrence in autumn).
into the undergrowth, I saw the rear half of my first Adder
of the year slither over the winding path on the lower slopes or Mill
Hill around midday.
The black diamond markings were very clear and it looked like a large specimen
(estimated at nearly 60 cm long). There was low lying Bramble
vegetation on both sides of the path and the Adder
sliding downhill quickly disappeared. Hoverflies
were frequently seen with wasps
and bees around the Ivy that attracted
butterfly species were seen on a cloudy day with brief snatches of sunshine.
included fresh Green-veined Whites
and a new Small Copper.
soared over Mill Hill around 1:00
pm. At least three of them and possibly all
of them were thought to be juvenile birds although they were adult sized*.
There were still frequent Adonis
on Mill Hill. A pristine Small Copper Butterfly
was spotted on the northern part of the lower slopes.
At least two of the birds were identified as Kestrels,
but not the other three.)
small bird of prey was photographed in a favourite haunt of mine at Southwick
Hill (north side), down to Whitelot Bottom, up again towards Thundersbarrow
(north of east Shoreham). This was a Kestrel
(although I first thought it was a Merlin).
dived under Widewater Lagoon and surfaced
with a flatfish too large for it to swallow. It nearly managed to swallow
it in the above photograph.
juvenile Common Lizards, Zootoca
vivipara, were seen on and in the
cracks of one brace of Chestnut pale fencing separating the Pixie
Path from Mill Hill Cutting, where the first orange berries had appeared
on the Holly.
cloudy day with ample sunshine made a visit to the lower slopes of Mill
Hill obligatory. The female Adonis
now outnumbered the males with 25
and 36 respectively
giving a total of 61 on the 1.2 acre transect
more on the steeper slopes. Almost all the females were in good condition
and recognised as definite Adonis
study of the female Adonis Blue Butterfly
(on the right)
shows its unfurled proboscis
to feed on nectar
on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
was made of the nectar plants of the Adonis
and the ones recorded were Clematis,
Bit Scabious and Carline
butterfly species were seen in the middle of the day.
Hill is proving to be a draw for butterfly
enthusiasts wanting to photograph the two Clouded
Yellows that appeared in the afternoon.
I managed some superb photographs as the cloud cover encouraged the butterflies
to remain still.
the same one) was located only thirty metres from the previous
sighting on the lower slopes of Mill
Hill. It was by brambles and bushes, and
after a short interval, it slowly slithered into the undergrowth. In the
hay meadow below (and to the west) of Mill Hill, a Roe
Deer was spotted. This is a reasonably
common sight in the morning. The lack of horns at this time of year indicates
it was a doe.
6.9 metre equinoctial spring tide at 12:35
pm lapped against
the riverbank at Old Shoreham which had the result of compelling the three
species of grasshoppers
and crickets that normally occupy the
high tide strandline
and Orache zone
a thin line of vegetation between the
Adur and the cyclepath and hundreds of
them could easily be disturbed. Two Buzzards
glided from east to west over Mill Hill
and rose on the thermals and circled over the hill for five minutes (about
2:15 pm) before becoming smaller and smaller
as they rose higher and higher and then they flew off. Two immigrant Clouded
Yellow Butterflies flew rapidly from one
end of the lower slopes of Mill Hill to the other and back again.
Hill was alive with butterfly activity. There are still some good Adonis
but I concentrated on two male Clouded
Yellows that were patrolling the slopes.
They met and fought many times, twirling up over the hill. Close ups required
a lot of running around the hill in pursuit and hoping the landing lasted
more than a few seconds. They seemed to nectar on most of the flowering
plants on the hill. A Hedge Rustic Moth,
cespitis, was spotted in the
the northern end of the lower slopes of Mill
Hill, I surprised a fat Adder
which quickly slithered off into the undergrowth. Later, it returned to
the same spot and was photographed coiled up under the sun that shined
intermittently through the clouds. This is
the first report of an Adder
on Mill Hill on these Nature Notes pages. Previously
they had only be reported from Lancing Ring.
a distinctive flash of orangey-yellow and I watched a Clouded
Yellow Butterfly patrolling his territory.
I was never able to get near enough to spot exactly where he landed, but
I had a great view of him flying methodically around his territory looking
for a female.
hedgerows on the southern side of Buckingham Cutting,
a Migrant Hawker (dragonfly),
mixta, flew over and then it was spotted
settled on Bramble
Orb Spider, Araneus quadratus,
spun its deadly web on the Buckingham Cutting
meadows (where it is known to catch grasshoppers).
spotted on the muddy banks of the
Adur north of Cuckoo's Corner at mid-tide.
This is the first time this bird has been recorded, probably because it
been overlooked or mistaken for a Redshank
Report & Photograph
the Old Erringham pasture I had a very clear view of the underside of a
gliding down from over Erringham Hill, the first time I had such a good
view of this raptor ever. Adonis
were the most frequently seen butterfly with 81 spotted on the lower slopes
and ridge. Devil's
Bit Scabious was now searched out and
spotted in flower for the first time
this year in an overgrown part of the lower slopes of Mill
were still frequent butterflies
around on the outskirts of Shoreham, notably a dozen Chalkhill
and my first Clouded Yellow
of the year on the Mill Hill Cutting (SW)
where my first flowering Autumn
Gentian of 2009
Butterflies: First Dates
of House Martins
flew over the River Adur at Old Shoreham prior to
uneventful trek to Lancing Ring found
the large and impressive Volucella zonaria
in wood on the eastern border of McIntyre's
Field. This smaller hoverfly was distinguished
by its crimson head and distinctive epistrophic
was a small amount of water in the dewpond after
the recent rain.