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The low lying town of Shoreham-by-Sea is built on level land almost entirely below 7.7 metres (25 feet) above sea level (Ordnance Datum, 3.05 metres above Chart Datum). Since World War II houses have been built on slightly higher ground up to 15 metres (50 feet) above sea level. The sea facing slope of the downs has been developed with residential housing, but at a height of about 30 metres (100 feet) the development has stopped and the downs in the north remain as farmland. The town is therefore on the low lying plain.

Wildlife Reports

Because of the sheer number of reports, a separate web page has been constructed for the reports for the Summer 2005

Shoreham Town Wildlife (Summer 2005)

Wildlife Reports
January to April 2005

Ivy-leaved Toadflax on an old flint wall in Old Shoreham29 April 2005
Of the butterflies seen during the humid and overcast day, the greatest surprise was a Small Copper Butterfly on the Dovecote Bank, the first one recorded on these Nature Notes pages for April.
Ivy-leaved Toadflax was found on old flint walls in Shoreham at this time of the year. 

25 April 2005
A head of a 10 cm Comet Goldfish was discovered beside a large garden pond in Mill Lane (southern section), Shoreham. The rest of the body looked like it had been eaten. Two minutes later the head had disappeared as well. What was likely to be the culprit? A Fox has been known to visit the garden.

Report by Jane

24 April 2005
"Paddling" for worms on the Middle Road and Shoreham Grammar School Playing Fields (Kingston Buci), the two dozen plus gulls would be identified as Herring Gulls, if it wasn't for their yellow legs. (Herring Gulls have pink legs.) However, the backs (primary feathers) of these gulls were a light grey, much lighter than the normal Lesser Black-backed Gulls which have the yellow legs. Some of the birds were juveniles. The light was fading and it was raining lightly. 
Sussex Ornithological Society Gulls Page
Notes on separation between Yellow-legged Gulls and other gulls

21 April 2005
A Large Red Damselfly was seen over some brambles at the top of The Drive, Shoreham. The red was not very pronounced and this specimen was noted with a yellow horizontally striped thorax when viewed from the side.  A colourful Long-tailed Tit attracted my attention with its call from near the top of a tree. 
Adur Damsels & Dragonflies

18 April 2005
The strange and unusual looking Morel Mushroom, Morchella esculenta, (pic) was seen on the side of the Pixie Path to Mill Hill. It looked dried out but I expect they always look like this. 
Fungi of Shoreham

A strange aquatic critter lives in a garden pond south of Mill Hill. It is about 20 mm long and scampers quickly back to the pond if removed from the water. It is green underneath. Do you know what it is? 

NB: It looks like a dragonfly nymph. My first choice is the Common Darter nymph but it is possibly Libellula depressa, the Broad-bodied Chaser nymph ? (AH
An adult Broad-bodied Chaser was observed to emerge in July
Photograph by Brian Drury Photograph by Brian Drury

Freshwater Life Smart Group
Adur Dragonflies
Etymology of Dragonfly scientific names

17 April 2005
The Spring (Hairy-footed) Flower Bee* with a long tongue and a loud buzzing sound in a Shoreham garden, was misidentified as a bee-fly at first. It was not a fly at all, but a solitary bee called Anthophora plumipes. It is a female (they are black) and the males are brown.
The straightforward conclusion is the intruder with which it appeared to be fighting was the male of the same species and they were mating. 

Full Report with Photographs

16 April 2005
A large fully grown adult Slow Worm was discovered in a garden south of Mill Hill. It slithered off when it realised that its shelter had been disturbed. 

Report by Martin Davis
Speckled Wood15 April 2005
On the footpath at the top of The Drive, Shoreham, a pair of Speckled Wood Butterflies were the first this year. Later, I saw and recognised my first male Orange-tip Butterfly of 2005 ten yards in advance, but despite this advanced warning, I failed to get a photograph as the camera batteries ran out. This was on the south-facing A27 road embankment a the top (north) of the Dovecote Estate.

12 & 14 April 2005
A (Great Spotted?) Woodpecker was heard drumming near Buckingham House, to the west of Buckingham Park, Shoreham. The bird was not seen.

Report by Peter Talbot-Elsden and an overheard conversation

12 April 2005
A superbly colourful Common Redstart landed on the rotary clothes line in the back garden of 14 Corbyn Crescent (TQ 224 055), Shoreham town, where there is a bird table and flocks of House Sparrows. Redstarts are summer immigrants. This is my first record of this bird in the town. 

10 April 2005
The first butterfly of the day was a Small White in the back garden of 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), (TQ  219 063). The Common Bee-Fly, Bombylius major, was still hovering about in the same garden.
The second was a Red Admiral Butterfly on the footpath at the top of The Drive, Shoreham, and this was the first record of this butterfly for April on these Nature Notes pages. The Red Admiral has been recorded in every month except May. A Red Admiral was also seen on the hard path through the copse on the top of Mill Hill
Other butterflies for the day included one a handful of both Peacock Butterflies (Mill Hill and the A27 road embankment a the top [north] of the Dovecote Estate, Shoreham), Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies (Mill Hill and the A27 road embankment), and one Holly Blue (top of Chanctonbury Drive, near [SE of] Mill Hill). 
There was at least one Brown-tail, Euproctis chrysorrhea, Moth nest on the footpath at the top of The Drive, Shoreham.
Adur Butterflies
Adur Butterfly List 2005
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
National Butterflies: First Dates

A flight of the naturalised white flowered plant known as the Spring Starflower, Ipheion uniflorum (C.A. Stace gives its name as Tristagma uniflorum.) was observed fringing the northern side of northern wall of Buckingham Park. 

There was what looked like an Andrena Mining Bee on yellow flowers on the south-facing A27 road embankment north of the Dovecote Estate, Shoreham.
Adur Mining Bees

9 April 2005
A pair of Blue Tits are nesting in a hole between the flint and mortar on the west facing wall of St. Mary de Haura Church, Shoreham, on the facing to the north of the entrance. 
The air temperature fell to 1° C at night.

7 April 2005
The following dried-out mushroom was found still upright on wood chips in a flower bed near the main south-western gate of Buckingham Park, Shoreham. 

It appears to be a common species that keeps on cropping up, but I am not sure of the species name. There were at least three, one with a cap at least 85 mm in diameter. 
Fungi of Shoreham

3 April 2005
Afternoon sunshine on the warmest (17.5 ºC) day of the year brought the flying, buzzing, humming and hovering insects out. 

At the turn (where the stile used to be) on the Pixie Path to Mill Hill, the first Common Lizard, Lacerta viviparus, of the year basked in the sun. 

Humming along and feeding like a humming bird, with its long proboscis extended and making sudden darts sticking the proboscis into garden primroses, the Common Bee-Fly, Bombylius major, (illustrated above on the right) is one of the most attractive of the flies (Diptera).

A Mining Bee, Andrena, was seen on a Dandelion at the top of The Drive, Shoreham.
Adur Bees 2

1 April 2005
I disturbed a hen Pheasant on the footpath at the top of The Drive, Shoreham. 

28 March 2005
The first Small White Butterfly of the year was seen near Kingston Buci fluttering over the road towards Church Green. 
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

27 March 2005
A male Blackcap perched and calling on the top of a small tree in the front garden of 42 the Drive, Shoreham-by-Sea, was highly distinctive with its slightly ruffled hairdo and almost a complete surprise. Almost a surprise only because I had thought I had seen a female two weeks before, but thought the idea unlikely because Blackcaps are thought to be summer visitors, although some do spend the winter in England. This bird was a fraction larger than a sparrow, and its presence and behaviour made it seem just a big bigger again. There was always the possibly that this bird was an early immigrant. 

26 March 2005
A brown Comma Butterfly fluttered over the Meads in Shoreham town. 

20 March 2005
AJay flew out of the Evergreen Oak in  the twitten to Buckingham Park from Ravensbourne Avenue, Shoreham.

18-19 March 2005
As the night fell a dense mist came down and restricted visibility to 25 metres. the lowest air temperatures was 6.8 ºC at dawn but for most of the time it would have been higher than the sea temperature which is about 7 ºC at this time of the year. 

Rookery at The Drive, Buckingham Ward, Shoreham16 March 2005
Looking skywards towards the forty Jackdaws in the air and towards the rookery in the pine tree in The Drive, Shoreham-by-Sea, with at least one Rook* and more Jackdaws and Crows as well, a flutter of brown was the first butterfly seen in March this year. It was probably a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly and added credence to this identification was given when a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly was disturbed basking in the midday sun on the footpath adjacent to the horse's fields on the way to Mill Hill, when I was quick enough to make a positive identification.
(*The identification is 100% confirmed. NB: when the light catches a Crow's beak at a certain alignment, it appears silvery and looks like a Rook.)
Butterfly List 2005

13 March 2005
Common Field Speedwell opened their small blue flowers in central reservation half-way up The Drive in Shoreham.

Herring GullsThe Frogs were mating energetically in the garden pond back garden of 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), (TQ  219 063), at least two pairs seen straight away and probably a half a dozen pairs or perhaps many more. One small clump of spawn (12 cm in diameter) had been laid in the corner of the pond. This was the first for this pond this year and the first spawn laid in this pond this millennium. 

I emptied the clotted contents of an old container of cream to attract titmice to the garden. The unexpected result was the arrival of three ravenous Herring Gulls. The sight of these large birds sent the other birds into cover. 
Garden Bird Database 2005

12 March 2005
A Redwing was spotted at 9:00 am in the St. Nicolas School Playing Fields, Eastern Avenue, Shoreham.

Report by Mike Burtt
c. 4 March 2005
A Mistle Thrush was seen and identified in an Old Shoreham garden. It was a bigger bird than the familiar Song Thrushes
Report by Mike Burtt

4 March 2005
An adult Fox running rapidly across Gordon Road, Shoreham, at the eastern end (near Gordon Avenue) just before midnight is hardly a newsworthy event any more. 

3 March 2005
No sign of snow in Shoreham town but looking out of my window, there was a thin layer of snow on the downs above Shoreham. This snow was only on the high ground north of the A27 By-pass, and the pastures from Slonk Hill westwards to Mill Hill were green.  The ice in my garden pond was 3 mm thick with just a small amount of open water at the edges of the pond. 

There were a least two Rooks* feeding on the Hamm Road allotments (next to Eastern Avenue), their sharp silvery beaks in contrast to the blunter black beaks of the usual Crows. This was the first time I had seen Rooks so far into the urban area, although these corvids could reach the downs without flying over the houses. 


28 February 2005
I first noticed the dozen silhouettes in the tall pine tree in central reservation half-way up The Drive in Shoreham; then the cacking became apparent and it was not the expected cawing of Crows, but the nosier Rooks with their pointed silvery beaks. 
In town the air temperature fell overnight to a low of -1.8 ºC at dawn, one of the coldest temperature recorded in this millennium near the coast. By midday it had risen to 6.3 ºC, but the dewpoint was still below freezing, their was thin ice on the garden ponds, and pockets of snow remained in the shade. The Light Breeze had moved around to come from the SSW.

27 February 2005
Snow!  Although it appeared more like horizontal sleet at first from the east, it actually begins to lay first on the pavements and roads and then on the grass. Although, only a thin layer, this is the first proper snow of the winter. It started about 10:30 am and ended about 11:30 am.
Snow in my front garden Pixie Cups in the Snow

11:00 am
Air Temperature  2.3 ºC
Dew Point  -2.1 ºC
Wind Direction  NNE
Wind Speed  Force 6 (Strong Breeze)

                     Snow at the bottom of Stoney Lane
                          Photograph by Pete Weaver

By midday the wind had reduced and it was more like snow than sleet. Unfortunately, a look at the downs from out of my window and no snow seems to have settled. By 1:00 pm, almost all the snow had melted. It only remained in exiguous quantity in my north-facing front garden, where it was thinly spread all day as shown in the photographs above.
Later, after dusk, the air temperature fell to -0.2 ºC.

25 February 2005
A thin layer of ice floated on the surface of my garden pond in Corbyn Crescent (TQ 224 055) for the first time ever as the air temperature fell below freezing for the first time this winter, recorded at -0.2 ºC just before 7:00 am. 

22 February 2005
Two Fieldfares in the trees in The Drive (near Buckingham Park), (TQ  219 063), was a first for several years (the first urban observation this millennium) amongst the negligible snow flurries. Later one and then a further two flew over the back garden of 40 The Drive. A Magpie was seen from the back garden of 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), flying from a large evergreen tree to a tiled roof. 

21 February 2005
A Jay was seen from the the  back garden of 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), (TQ  219 063), flying from one large evergreen tree to another with a slightly dipping flight.

19 February 2005
A Grey Wagtail splendid in its yellow livery is a regular visitor to a garden which is mostly a pond in Overmead. Shoreham (north of the Meads). A Goldcrest was also seen flitting around the pond borders.

Report by Jenny Byrne

Common Field Speedwell (upper Oxen Avenue verge, Shoreham)Despite the chill breeze (falling to -6.1 ºC and always below zero), and a a dew lowest point of -5.1 ºC, the air temperature remained above zero as it has done throughout this winter so far. On the road verges, the Greater Periwinkle was noticed in flower and I think it was the Field Speedwell, Veronica persica, with closed flowers. 
Speedwells of Donegal

13 February 2005
There were a dozen Sweet Violets flowering in a clump on the northern garden edge of the twitten to Buckingham Park from Ravensbourne Avenue, Shoreham.
Sweet Violet Sweet Violet Sweet Violet

Notice the sepals and absence of hairs on the leaves with rounded ends. 
Adur Violets

10 February 2005
The first Common Frog spawn of the year is laid in a Shoreham pond off Mill Lane.

Report by Betty Bishop

8 February 2005
A Mistle Thrush was seen in a largish bare-branched tree in the Dovecote Estate, Shoreham. It rested amongst the branches just below the top. I managed a close look through my binoculars and it was 20% larger than a Song Thrush, had larger dark spots, had a different disposition and behaviour and looked different when it flew off. This is my first record, as I find it tricky to be sure of my thrushes.

6 February 2005
Under the blue sky with better quality light it was now possible to readily identify two Dunnocks, with a third one occasionally chasing each other around the back garden of 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), (TQ  219 063), on the fences, around the small pond, underneath the Leylandii and around the Holly Tree, with the Robin and Blue Tits resident and Greenfinches using the Holly as a perch. A Collared Dove was not interested in the bird table and flew overhead with a twig in its beak. 

2 February 2005
Just after midday, the first burst of sunshine of the year felt warm in a shade temperature of 9.7 ºC. This attracted 25+ dark Honey Bees to a Hebe shrub in The Drive (near Buckingham Park), Shoreham, plus a queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee

There were two brown plump birds with orange legs on the fence of the back garden of 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), Shoreham, (TQ  219 063). I do not know if they were juvenile Dunnocks or juvenile Robins though. They were not adult Dunnocks as the grey breast was missing and they were more the build of Robins. There was no trace of red on the breast of these young birds. Two Chaffinches were seen instantly in a garden full of birds. 
New Shoreham (Buckingham Ward) Garden Bird Database 2005

31 January 2005
A Magpie on the roof of a house in Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham, had more white than normal and it appeared that some of the wing feathers were white when they should have been black, but not so markedly an albino bird which has been seen three and more years before.

A Sweet Violet was flowering in the twitten to Buckingham Park from Ravensbourne Avenue, Shoreham.
Adur Violets

29-30 January 2005
Big Garden Birdwatch 2005
RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch

All silent and empty for the first few minutes until a blodge of red of the Robin Redbreast in the Holly Tree at the bottom of the back garden of 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), (TQ  219 063) became the first bird to register on the hour long birdwatch. Altogether thirteen different species were recorded including the first appearance of three Chaffinches of the year. 

New Shoreham (Buckingham Ward) Garden Bird Database 2005
Garden Bird List 2004

25 January 2005
There was a single flock of about five thousand or more Starlings over the houses south of Southlands Hospital, Shoreham, at 4:00 pm, just before dusk. 

23 January 2005
Two flocks of about 1,800 Starlings in each flew over New Shoreham town from west to east about an hour before dusk. I was not surprised that were were no Starlings on their usual place on St. Mary de Haura church tower and only fifty birds circled around. There were a pair of Magpies on the St. Mary's Church weathervane which was pointing north. 

The famous Holly Tree growing in another tree in the twitten to Buckingham Park from Ravensbourne Avenue, Shoreham seems to have been removed. Why do Adur District Council Parks and Gardens decide on such vandalism? 
Original Picture and Report

16 January 2005
At first I though it was a juvenile Robin without its red breast was one of three Robins seen in the  back garden of 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), (TQ  219 063) all at one time. Juvenile Robins are reported in the book as moulting into their new red breasts in autumn. This statement may be tricky to interpret as the bird can have up to three broods, and each juvenile-to-adult moult seems most likely to occur at different times. This young bird had just a very small mottled red patch on its left at the top of its breast. The young bird probably hatched in October 2004.
PS:  Because of the orange coloured legs of this bird, I now think it was a Dunnock.
Full Report
There were 38 Jackdaws and as many Crows in the tall trees in The Drive when I counted. There may have been even more.
New Shoreham Garden Bird Database 2005

I was surprised to see what looked like a butterfly fluttering in the breeze. I dismissed it as a leaf dislodged in a gust until I saw it again and recognised it as a good condition Red Admiral Butterfly in the back garden of 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), (TQ  219 063). This was my first butterfly of the year and my first record of any butterfly in January. The last Red Admiral was seen on 19 November 2004
Adur Butterflies 2004
Adur Butterflies
Link:  Adur Butterflies Flight Times
Adur First Butterfly Dates 2003-2005

15 January 2005
Hardly a newsworthy event any more, but a young Fox trotted rapidly from the Courts Furniture Warehouse car park across the Hamm, by the Civic Centre and across the A259 Brighton Road into the forecourt of Kwit-Fit, about 11:30 pm

14 January 2005
Against the backdrop of a clear blue sky criss-crossed with aircraft vapour trails a Kestrel hovered over Middle Road allotments on the third clear day on the trot. Just a few wisps of clouds so the air temperature was 6.7 ºC at midnight rising to 10.6 ºC by the afternoon.

13 January 2005
The two Robins on the southern fence of the back garden of 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), (TQ  219 063), went through a brief courtship ritual fluttering up together in the air for two seconds; unless this was a territorial battle?  The latter may be more likely as there was a sudden flurry. 
Robins usually breed from late March in holes in dense scrub including gardens. They may breed twice or even thrice in one year.
Robin Movies
Robin Nest Box
Garden Wildlife 2005
New Shoreham Garden Bird Database 2005

10 January 2005
We keep finding Smooth Newts, Triturus vulgaris, on the paths in the garden on the town side of Mill Hill. I found another six tonight. I tend to pick them up and put them in the small pond some 20 metres away. Smooth Newts are the commonest newt species in England.

Common Newt (Photograph by Andy Horton)
Last summer I dug out a lot of old concrete and found nearly a hundred. Some were 50 cm underground.

Newts do not hibernate, they just enter a state of torpor when the overnight average temperature is below about 5° C. Newts are also seldom active on land during periods of hot and/or dry weather. Research has also shown that they seem to be less active on windy nights. The periods of mild weather we have experienced so far this winter have enabled newts to become active, this is why you have been finding them out foraging at night in January.

It is, however, still a little early for most newts to be migrating to ponds to breed (although there are bound to be some exceptions, especially in the warmer southern regions), so it would probably be best not to go putting them into a pond as the water temperature could be a few degrees colder than the air temperature.

If the newts on your paths are likely to be trodden on (or are otherwise in danger) then moving them to nearby terrestrial cover such as long grass would be best. Otherwise, it is probably better just leave them to their own devices, but keep a record of when and where you have seen them and the weather conditions and temperature at the time. Information like this helps build up a better picture of their behaviour.

2 January 2005
I always suspected there was a resident Robin as well as a visiting bird in the back garden of 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), (TQ  219 063), and this was confirmed in the early afternoon, when two Robins were present in the garden at the same time, and for durations of ten minutes and more, one by the Holly Tree and the other near the garage.
A bumblebee flew rapidly over the garden. 
New Shoreham Garden Bird Database 2005

1 January 2005
The birds seen this year were a flock of of more than a dozen House Sparrows at junction of Corbyn Crescent and Dolphin Road in the town of Shoreham. 
Garden birds were lively in the back garden of 40 The Drive (near Buckingham Park), (TQ 219 063), including a Starling and a Blackbird both bathing in separate water filled troughs and buckets after the recent rain. There were three Blackbirds in the Firethorn, one male with a silvery rather than the usual yellow beak. 
New Shoreham Garden Bird Database 2005

Town & Gardens 2004

Adur Nature Notes 2005:   Index Page

Adur Valley
Adur Nature Notes 2005