ADUR
NATURE NOTES
Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex
 
 

September 2010

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


Migrant Hawker
Peacock Butterfly

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


WILDLIFE REPORTS
 

30 September 2010
At lunchtime an Osprey flew over the River Adur by Shoreham Airport. I watched it for about ten minutes before it was mobbed by some Crows. It dived into the river twice but didn't appear to catch anything.


26 September 2010
After 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 Browns were the only one of the five species to be frequently seen. New shoots of Dropwort were seen on about a dozen occasions on the lower slopes of Mill Hill (the first time I had noted this occurrence in autumn). 
Full Butterfly Report

20 September 2010
Sliding 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 Red Admiral Butterflies. Ten butterfly species were seen on a cloudy day with brief snatches of sunshine. These included fresh Green-veined Whites and a new Small Copper
Full Butterfly Report
Full Hoverfly Report

19 September 2010
Five Kestrels 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 Blue Butterflies and Meadow Browns 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.)
Full Butterfly Report

18 September 2010

Photograph by Rob Lord

This 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). 

Report and Photograph by Robert Lord


17 September 2010

A Cormorant 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. 

15 September 2010

Three 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

12 September 2010
A cloudy day with ample sunshine made a visit to the lower slopes of Mill Hill obligatory. The female Adonis Blues now outnumbered the males with 25 and 36 respectively giving a total of 61 on the 1.2 acre transect with more on the steeper slopes. Almost all the females were in good condition and recognised as definite Adonis Blues. 
 
This study of the female Adonis Blue Butterfly (on the right) shows its unfurled proboscis to feed on nectar of Clematis on the lower slopes of Mill Hill

A note was made of the nectar plants of the Adonis Blues and the ones recorded were Clematis, Sweet Violets, Hawkbits, Eyebrights, Devil's Bit Scabious and Carline Thistle. Eight butterfly species were seen in the middle of the day.
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Violets
 
Clouded Yellow and
Meadow Brown
Clouded Yellow and
Musk Thistle

Mill 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. 


10 September 2010
Another Adder (or 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.


9 September 2010
The 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 into a thin line of vegetation between the River 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. 
Full Butterfly Report

Mill Hill was alive with butterfly activity. There are still some good Adonis Blues 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, Tholera cespitis, was spotted in the undergrowth.

Adur Moths

8 September 2010
At 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
 
Photograph by by Colin Knight
Photograph by by Colin Knight
Adder
Dark Sword-grass

I spotted 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.

 
7 September 2010
On the hedgerows on the southern side of Buckingham Cutting, a Migrant Hawker (dragonfly), Aeshna mixta, flew over and then it was spotted settled on Bramble with blackberries.
 

The yellow Orb Spider, Araneus quadratus, spun its deadly web on the Buckingham Cutting meadows (where it is known to catch grasshoppers).
Adur Spiders

5 September 2010
A Greenshank was spotted on the muddy banks of the River 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 on previous occasions. 
Full Report & Photograph

4 September 2010
Over the Old Erringham pasture I had a very clear view of the underside of a Buzzard gliding down from over Erringham Hill, the first time I had such a good view of this raptor ever. Adonis Blues were the most frequently seen butterfly with 81 spotted on the lower slopes and ridge. Autumn GentianDevil'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 Hill
Full Butterfly Report

3 September 2010
There were still frequent butterflies around on the outskirts of Shoreham, notably a dozen Chalkhill Blues and my first Clouded Yellow of the year on the Mill Hill Cutting (SW) where my first flowering Autumn Gentian of 2009 was noted. 
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

2 September 2010
Scores of House Martins flew over the River Adur at Old Shoreham prior to emigration. 

Syrphus hoverflies

A rather uneventful trek to Lancing Ring found the large and impressive Volucella zonaria and frequent smaller Syrphus hoverflies in wood on the eastern border of McIntyre's Field. This smaller hoverfly was distinguished by its crimson head and distinctive epistrophic behaviour. There was a small amount of water in the dewpond after the recent rain.
Adur Butterfly List
 


 

September 2009
 


History of Mill Hill
Mill Hill News Reports 2010
 

Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea
Shoreham and District Ornithological Society
Lancing Village
 

Adur Valley Network (forum)

MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and Downs
 

Urban Wildlife Webring


Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2009 web pages
    The Shoreham-by-Sea web site started on 1 January 1997.
Webmaster: Andy Horton.


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