Slonk Hill Cutting              2009
 including the Buckingham Cutting, Mill Hill Cutting & the Pixie Path to Mill Hill


Slonk Hill 2010
 
20 September 2009
On an energy sapping humid morning, both hoverflies and butterflies were active around one large clump of Ivy on the Pixie Path (near the NW corner of Frampton's Field) and it was a flash of orange I saw first which I thought was a Comma, but it turned out to be one of five pristine Painted Ladies and a Red Admiral seen immediately followed by a Comma Butterfly seen in less than a minute and another duller Comma spotted about three minutes after the initial sighting. Two Large White Butterflies were spotted over Frampton's Field.
Full Butterfly Report
 
Painted Lady
Small Copper
Red Admiral

Southern Hawker and Common Darter dragonflies were seen as expected at this time of the year.
 
9 September 2009
An anticipated decline in butterflies was noted: the Pixie Path recorded six Speckled Woods, two Red Admirals and a Holly Blue. There were still plenty of Honey Bees, bumblebees and hoverflies visiting the Ivy. 
Full Butterfly Report

22 August 2009
A Common Lizard, Zootoca vivipara, was seen coiled up on the Chestnut fencing at the top of the Pixie Path.
Adur Lizards

21 August 2009
Much too breezy for butterflies, but the Mill Hill Cutting hosted three of each sex Chalkhill Blues, the females both courting the attention of the good condition males as well as crawling through the Horseshoe Vetch to discharge their eggs. The cutting also  hosted Speckled Woods, male Common Blues, and both Large Whites and Small Whites. Holly Blues were occasionally to be spotted amongst the Ivy on the Pixie Path. Meadow Browns were seen in Frampton's Field. A Gatekeeper was not spotted.

19 August 2009
 

The four female Chalkhill Blues were rather worn and ragged, but at least two crawled through the leaves of Horseshoe Vetch to deposit their eggs.

Female Chalkhill Blues

The route to Mill Hill went through the Mill Hill Cutting (SW) where there were a dozen Chalkhill Blues, including four females, all seen at the same time. The four female Chalkhill Blues were rather worn and ragged, but at least two of them crawled in amongst the prostrate leaves of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa. A Green-veined White landed on a Bramble leaf and I thought that the triangular shape of the wings was most pronounced and this would help with the practical difficulties in identifying the white butterflies. There were three Wall Browns and two Holly Blues on the northern stretch of the Pixie Path with Meadow Browns and Common Blues in Frampton's Field.
Adur Butterfly List 2009

16 August 2009
On a breezy overcast day, an appointment meant the cycle ride was a passage one through Buckingham Cutting (south) where occasional Large Whites and Small Whites, a Holly Blue and a few Common Blues and at least one Silver Y Moth were noted. Down to the Mill Hill Cutting (SW) where more Common Blues, one Chalkhill Blue, a Painted Lady and a Speckled Wood were seen. The Pixie Path route was then due south to the Waterworks Road noting another Painted Lady more Common Blues of both sexes and a few Speckled Woods with more Large Whites.

13 August 2009
A cycle ride was originally just going to the Old Fort on Shoreham Beach and back but it extended along the towpath past the houseboats, across Adur Recreation Ground and along the towpath adjacent to the Airport and over the Toll Bridge up the Pixie Path to the top and a detour to Buckingham Cutting south.
 

Common Blue
 Common Blue (female)
Brown Argus
Brown Argus

Small Tortoiseshell on Creeping ThistleThe following butterflies were seen on route: frequent Large Whites, Small Whites, Painted Ladies, and Common Blues, occasional Green-veined Whites, Speckled Woods, Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns, three Wall Browns, three fresh Comma Butterflies, two Red Admirals, one Small Tortoiseshell, five Chalkhill Blues (including one female at the Mill Hill Cutting south-west), two Holly Blues, and a confirmed Brown Argus and a Small Blue (both at Buckingham Cutting).
Brown Argus Identification Notes

11 August 2009
A Red Admiral was seen on the southern path of Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham, a species not seen the previous day. In the same general area I counted five Holly Blues in the hedgerow together. The trip was a brief one to pick some apples, and the Slonk Hill south route in the afternoon was not very productive: the species were frequent Large Whites, Small Whites and Painted Ladies in town and country, Speckled Woods in the linear wood, frequent Common Blues and a few Meadow Browns in the verge meadows. On Mill Hill Cutting south-west, the Chalkhill Blue count was ten including one female and the plant they stayed on longest for nectar was Carline Thistle, but they made fleeting visits whilst I was watching to Autumn Gentian, Bird's-foot Trefoil and Eyebright.

10 August 2009
Approaches to Mill Hill:
Pixie Path and Frampton's Field
Common Blues were conspicuous in the north-west corner of Frampton's Field with a few Meadow Browns. By the hedges there were two Holly Blues and two Speckled Woods as well as Small Whites and the omnipresent Painted Ladies.
Mill Hill Cutting (south-west)
After a few minutes the Chalkhill Blues appeared with nine spotted including a female with at least four Common Blues.
Buckingham Cutting (south)

Not nearly as many as the previous day and it was a minute or two before the occasional Common Blues and at least three Small Blues and Meadow Browns were noticed.
Full Butterfly Report
 
9 August 2009

Buckingham Cutting (south)
This small area of herbland was notable for 25+ Common Blues with the blue males and both very small brown females and a few much larger brown and blue females. It would be easy to mistake the smaller females for Brown Argus Butterflies, but none of the latter were positively identified. At least two Small Blues were noted with frequent Meadow Browns and a few Large Whites in the verge meadows. Amongst the hedgerows and linear wood there were occasional Gatekeepers and a few Speckled Woods.
 
Wall Brown
Female Common Blue
Female Chalkhill Blue
Female Chalkhill Blue

Mill Hill Cutting (SW) and the Pixie Path

About ten Chalkhill Blues were noted including two females on the Mill Hill Cutting (SW) with three Treble-bar Moths. On the Pixie Path there were three Wall Browns and four Speckled Woods.
 
2 August 2009
A Hornet Robber Fly landed in front of me on the footpath, that runs around the perimeter of a horse pasture, going east from Slonk Hill Farm.
 
31 July 2009

Approaches to Mill Hill
Buckingham Cutting South
This large garden-sized verge on the edge of the A27 carriageway is rich in meadow herbs and attracts numerous butterflies and on a passage trip lasting about five minutes, I listed a Small White, at least ten Common Blues, at least five Meadow Browns, just the two Small Blues and the four Silver Y Moths was certainly underecorded as they remain hidden unless disturbed.
I also noted four Speckled Woods, at least one Gatekeeper, a Red Admiral and two Peacock Butterflies in the wooded area arriving from The Drive in north Shoreham.

Mill Hill Cutting (south-west)
This is another slightly larger garden-sized verge plot carved out of chalk with Cotoneaster and Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa.. At first there were no butterflies to be seen, but after about three minutes the first Chalkhill Blue fluttered up from the Horseshoe Vetch where the first mating pair of the year was seen. There were six males and two females which was still an extremely low count at the peak period when between 20 and 50+ would normally be expected. There were also two Common Blues, a Large White, a few Gatekeepers and a Speckled Wood. A Red Admiral flew over my head. The first Autumn Gentian of the year was seen in flower.
Adur Sawflies
 

Chalkhill Blue
Autumn Gentian
Sawfly Tenthredo arcuata ?

Pixie Path and Frampton's Field
This path leads from the Mill Hill Cutting, south-west, to Mill Hill Road at the top. No butterflies were seen at first on the northern stretch until a Meadow Brown showed in the horse pasture field, followed by three Gatekeepers and two Common Blues in the partitioned field as I walked by bicycle past. A Wall Brown settled on the path itself and there was a Speckled Wood at the top. A Small Tortoiseshell wasn't a definite as it flew too quickly to be sure.

On the return from Mill Hill, I cycled down the route at much greater speed noting two Painted Ladies on passage. In the Butterfly Copse (leading to the Waterworks Road not visited) there was just a Holly Blue and on the southern section of the path just a Speckled Wood and a Gatekeeper.
Full Butterfly Report


28 July 2009

In the late afternoon the path from the Butterfly Copse on the southern side of Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham, to The Street, yielded a probable Holly Blue Butterfly and a Red Admiral sparring with a Painted Lady.

 
27 July 2009
In under three minutes on the path from the Butterfly Copse on the southern side of Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham, to The Street, a Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Painted Lady, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, a Large White and two Speckled Wood Butterflies appeared.
 
26 July 2009
Female Common Blue Butterflies were spotted, but there were nine males and just the one female noted, on the southern bank of Buckingham Cutting. Small Blues were still numerous with over fifteen seen. 

Full Butterfly Report
Common Blue
(female)
Small Blue Butterfly
 
25 July 2009
Another, the second of the year, Hornet Robber Fly was resting on the Pixie Path in front of me, but it was very quick to fly away. Butterflies on the Pixie Path were a fresh batch of Holly Blues, occasional Painted Ladies, Gatekeepers  and Large Whites, and a few each of Small Tortoiseshells (two on Frampton's Field south), Small Whites, Red Admirals, Peacock Butterflies, Speckled Woods, with one Comma and at least one male Common Blue (Mill Hill Cutting SW).
A passage observation on the divided horse pasture of Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham showed Red Bartsia, Scentless Mayweed, Dock and the smaller Hop Trefoil in plentiful flower in horse grazed compartments with lesser amounts of Creeping Thistle and Stinging Nettle.
 
23 July 2009
 

This small bumblebee was recorded on the on the Pixie Path,  just north of Old Shoreham. 

I think this is the smaller male Red-tailed Bumblebee.

Under a cloudy sky a definite first of the year Southern Hawker (dragonfly) hawked to and fro in the wooded area at the top of The Drive in north Shoreham. Despite the overcast condition, the cutting was full of flying insects, mostly butterflies and in two minutes six Small Blues appeared, three very noticeable male Common Blues, four each of Gatekeepers, Speckled Woods and Meadow Browns of both genders, as well as a Small White, a Large White, a Peacock Butterfly, and two each of Six-spotted Burnet Moths and Silver Y Moths. At the top of the Pixie Path the first Hornet Robber Fly of 2009 settled briefly.
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Flies 2009

Gatekeepers (male:top) and (female:bottom)20 July 2009
The weather was still too inclement for butterflies after a wet and breezy weekend, but despite the poor conditions a few Painted Ladies were seen on the Buckingham Cutting south), with occasional fresh Red Admirals and Peacocks.
 
Common Blue Female Gatekeeper

On Buckingham Cutting (south) this undisturbed (by passing humans) piece of roadside verge instantly revealed three male Common Blues, a Small Skipper, courting Gatekeepers, a few Speckled Woods, mating Small Blues plus handful of solitary ones, a Six-spotted Burnet Moth and a Burnet Companion Moth. Over the hedgerow at Buckingham Cutting a blue butterfly flew and I very much suspect that this was a Holly Blue, but it was much too restless and disappeared towards even denser foliage. The sawfly Tenthredo arcuata was my identification of a small insect on a yellow flower. The County Council have mown the grasses and flowers immediately in front of the road sign (including some Kidney Vetch) but most of the meadow-like habitat remains unmown.
Adur Butterfly List 2009

1 July 2009
 

Ringlet Butterfly
Ringlet Butterfly

This was one of five Ringlet Butterflies seen immediately on the south bank of the Slonk Hill Cutting at the eastern end.

Full Butterfly Report

15 June 2009
On Buckingham Cutting south in the early evening (it was still light approaching the Summer Solstice) there were the usual fifty or so Small Blue Butterflies, a few male Common Blues and one Speckled Wood. A Red Admiral fluttered rapidly in the breeze over the top section of the Pixie Path.

13 June 2009
Large SkipperOn a humid warm Saturday, I detoured a route that took me from the Buckingham Cutting along the linear path on the southern side of the Slonk Hill Cutting I spotted my first three Large Skippers of the year, 100+ Small Blue Butterflies, at least two tatty male Common Blues and a few male Meadow Browns.
Adur Skippers

12 June 2009
A Red Fox trotted along the Pixie Path just where I usually expect to see Rabbits running for cover. It turned to face me before diving off into the undergrowth with more wariness than the town Foxes.

8 June 2009
Common Spotted Orchids and a few Pyramidal Orchids were now in flower on the southern side of the Buckingham Cutting. The Pixie Path was mown and with it the Crow Garlic or Wild Onion, Allium vineale. Wild Thyme was seen for the first time this year on the Mill Hill Cutting (south-west).
Adur Orchids
 

About twenty of the small brown beetles illustrated above were flying around in the undergrowth. It could be Lagria hirta.

This orchid on the Mill Hill Cutting (south-west) was a mystery at first. I think it is probably a variety of the Common Spotted Orchid.

There are seven votes for the Southern Marsh Orchid, Dactylorhiza praetermissa
previously Orchis praetermissa.

This orchid was a new addition to the local list

An afternoon outing on an overcast day on the southern side of Buckingham Cutting, the small blue butterflies amongst the Brambles were all Small Blues and the estimate was 75+ in this small area. My first Marbled White Butterfly of the year made a sudden appearance.
Full Butterfly Report

21 May 2009
 

Small Blue Butterflies
Female Common Blue Butterfly
Small Blue Butterflies
Small Blue Butterfly
Female Common Blue Butterfly

In the late afternoon there were about twenty Small Blues in a three square metre patch of Buckingham Cutting south all fluttering about before they settled down to roost. Some of them were fluttering around the Bramble where I would expect to see Holly Blues, and one noticeably larger blue butterfly was seen flying over the hedgerow. There was also a Red Admiral and a female Common Blue.
Full Butterfly Report

20 May 2009
Small Blue ButterflyIn the early evening I ventured up to Buckingham Cutting south and I immediately spotted a handful of my first Small Blue Butterflies of the year. None of them were pristine and a few were faded so they must have been out for a few days, probably at least a week. Salad Burnet was now showing on the Buckingham Cutting south. The Spotted Orchids were showing leaves but not yet seen in flower on the Slonk Hill Cutting south embankment.
Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, and Ox-eye Daisies were seen flowering in large expanses on the Slonk Hill Cutting northern bank.
On the Pixie Path there was prevalent Milkwort, common Bulbous Buttercups and occasional clumps of Horseshoe Vetch.
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

29 April 2009
I spotted my first Common Lizard, Zootoca vivipara, of the year skitting over the Pixie Path. It was an intact juvenile. A Large Red Damselfly, Pyrrhosoma nymphula, was seen amongst largish patches of Milkwort on the side of the path. There were a few Speckled Woods but these were the only butterflies seen on the upper part of the path.
Adur Lizards
 
8 April 2009
The first nest of the Brown-tailed Moth of the year was discovered on the Slonk Hill Cutting south in the overgrown clearing alongside the path. 

Adur Moths

3 April 2009
 

Further observations of the Allium covering about three square metres on the Pixie Path indicate that the majority were curly on the path but nearer the shelter of the chestnut fencing and shrub, the plants were much more upright to at least 20 cm and some of them did not curl at all. The stems were hollow. The correct ID is the original one of the Crow Garlic or Wild Onion, Allium vineale.

ID by Rodney Burton & Darrell Watts on the UK Botany Yahoo Group


2 April 2009
Two Comma Butterflies were spotted, one in the Butterfly Copse near the Waterworks Road and the other on Alexanders on the south-north section of the Pixie Path.

30 March 2009
My first passage trip of the year along the southern side of the Slonk Hill Cutting produced a yellow Brimstone Butterfly in the linear wooded section and a Peacock Butterfly at Buckingham Barn Cutting (at the top of The Drive, north Shoreham).
Adur Butterfly List 2009

29 March 2009
The first Dog Violet of 2009 was seen in flower on the Pixie Path to Mill Hill.  My first Common Carder Bee (bumblebee) visited a Common Daisy on the Pixie Path.
Adur Violets
 

????  on the Pixie Path

The grass-like plant on the far right above is believed to be a trampled version of the Crow Garlic or Wild Onion, Allium vineale.

ID by Rodney Burton & Darrell Watts on the UK Botany Yahoo Group


The grass-like plant on the far right above is probably the Serpentine Garlic, Allium sativum ophiuscorodon, but I'm not certain.
This cultivated escaped alien is a new addition to the Shoreham flora list.

ID suggestion by Peter on the UK Botany Yahoo Group
The identification may not be correct:
A number of Alliums can have curly leaves, genuinely wild Chives, Allium schoenoprasum, comes to mind (but it's not your plant).
Having looked again Field Garlic, Allium oleraceum, would be another suggestion, as it's leaves are curly and should be "hollow and round underneath, with a prominently ribbed flat top"
Comment by Darrell Watts on the UK Botany Yahoo Group
Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea (List)

23 March 2009
Although Buff-tailed Bumblebees had been frequent every day this month, a special large emergence occurred with at least thirty in five minutes rising from their burrows into flight from the grassy are at the top of Chanctonbury Drive, Shoreham, south-east of the bridge over the A27 to Mill Hill. At least two Common Bee-Flies, Bombylius major, were also spotted hovering in the same area.
Adur Bumblebees
Adur Flies

15 March 2009
I was surprised by a bright yellow Brimstone Butterfly over the Pixie Path at the northern end by the north east part of Frampton's filed, but skirting the chestnut fencing that separates the path from Mill Hill Cutting. This was the first of the year. There was a Red Admiral  over the grass and the edges of the copse at the top of Chanctonbury Drive, and probably the same one that was seen a week earlier.
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

8 March 2009
My first butterfly seen this year was a Red Admiral induced out of hibernation by the weak sunshine over the grass and the edges of the copse at the top of Chanctonbury Drive, south-east of the bridge over the A27 to Mill Hill.
 
Sweet Violets
Red Admiral Pixie Cups, Cladonia

A Sparrowhawk swopped in a low flight from the Mill Hill Cutting (south-west) over the north-west corner of Frampton's Field. This was in contrast to the more colourful Kestrel seen in a similar low swooping flight over the path immediately to the west of the copse on Mill Hill.

2 March 2009
There were scores of Sweet Violets seen in flower on the north-south section of the Pixie Path to Mill Hill and scores more on the edge of the grass adjoining the copse at the top of Chanctonbury Drive, south-east of the bridge over the A27 to Mill Hill.
Adur Violets

8 February 2009
Wrens were noted occasionally amongst the bare shrubbery, most of them at the southern end of the Pixie Path by the Butterfly Copse at the southern end of the Waterworks Road. This is a very common bird so the report is not newsworthy, but there was nothing else of note.
 

Slonk Hill 2008
Pixie Path 2008
Dovecote & Buckingham Bank



Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2009 web pages