Shoreham Town & Gardens 2007

Shoreham Town Wildlife Reports 2008
18 December 2007
A Jay visited a garden stone bird table and took a sip of the collected water in the open front gardens at the junction of Middle Road and St. Julian's Lane in Kingston Buci in east Shoreham. It looks like in the photograph the Jay was about to bury an acorn in the garden. 

Shoreham Weather 2007

7 December 2007
The first Wood Blewit, Lepista nuda, mushroom seen this autumn was spotted on the wood chippings on Ropetackle in Shoreham town by the River Adur

This may be a Field Blewits, Lepista saeva. 

26 November 2007
Jay flew from the Evergreen Oak towards a leafless tree in St. Julian's Churchyard in Kingston Buci with an acorn in its mouth. The white tail feathers were most noticeable.

23 November 2007
A pair of Jays flew into the trees in St. Julian's Churchyard in Kingston Buci.

20 November 2007
A Jay flew past the Old Barn in Kingston Buci, west of St.Julian's Church. Two flocks of about 400 Starlings in each one flew over Shoreham town.

9 November 2007
A Red Admiral Butterfly left the fallen leaves at the top of The Street, Old Shoreham. A Jay visited The Evergreen Oak in Kingston Buci in the college grounds east of St.Julian's Church.
Elms after being cut back
17 October 2007
Fluttering strongly above my head, I saw two Red Admiral Butterflies in the Williams Road area of Shoreham town. A Large White Butterfly fluttered across a Shoreham street.
Adur Butterfly List 2007

16 October 2007
I rang West Sussex County Council Highways Department for an explanation of why the trees were being cut down. The Highways Dept. do not give notice when trees are to be pruned back or felled. A closer look in the morning and the trees did look rather large swaying in the wind and the heavy weight could have brought them down in a storm. I asked Dave Stringer's (landscape gardener) opinion as he thought that they would grow back OK and although he was not too happy about the shaping, but I thought I would leave it to nature to rectify.
Elm Tree Notes
Elm Trees in Gordon Avenue, Shoreham on 15 October 2007 Elm Trees being cut back in the rain

15 October 2007
The attractive Wheatley Elm Trees in Gordon Avenue, Shoreham, have been cut back and there large leafy branches removed. One of the workman said they had been diagnosed with Dutch Elm Disease. I have known these trees for 50 years as I lived my early life in adjacent Rosslyn Road. I did not see any signs of disease when I last cycled past these trees. The fading of the leaves was assumed to be because of the autumn season.
The trees have been confirmed of having Dutch Elm Disease. In the old days the trees would have been felled.
Elm Species

The trees succombed and were felled in January 2011.
Elm Tree Notes

As I understand it from Ray Strong, who has a lifetime's experience in the practical science of DED management, the Shoreham to Sompting area is the frontline for DED control to protect the National Elm Collection area to the east. The aim is of course to preserve trees but above all to stop beetles flying on east into the B&H protection area which is otherwise protected by the Downs and the sea.
The beetles and the fungus are sufficiently slow moving to allow of some control methods.

The pruning you are concerned about may not have been related purely to amenity or safety considerations. I can think of three  considerations that may be determining the management of these trees if there is a DED infection.

(a) Live trees that get an infection in the branches, from feeding activity by the beetles, can be kept free of the fungus by pruning off the branches promptly before it spreads further into the tree.

If the pruning-out action fails and the trees do get infected throughout their system, 

(b) the infected trees can be given a longer healthy life (and possibly a potential for spread via root systems between adjacent trees can be held off) by reducing the water stress, ie by pruning the top (and reducing competition for water from other nearby trees), so that there is more root water pressure into each individual surviving tree, and

(c) it is important in our 'frontline' area to keep recently dead ones standing for a few years, even if they have to be pruned into lampposts for safety, so that the beetles migrating east from Worthing in search of good places to lay their eggs will stop and do so here, rather than moving on further eastwards into the National Elm Collection protected zone. If the trees are kept under observation then once they are 'grubby' ie full of grubs then they can be felled and burned, destroying the grubs and so keeping the beetle population in this frontline area as low as possible. The beetles can do 3.5 generations a year depending on the weather so several inspections may be needed to spot when these trap trees are pullulating with grubs ripe for barbecuing.

For breeding success the beetles need trees that are only recently dead, dry enough to not drown the grubs but not too dry to nourish them. Before the virulent strain of DED emerged with the capacity to kill and 'prime' whole regions of trees for them, the beetles would have had to find a blown-off branch to breed in, or an occasional tree that had been killed by say honey fungus or been cut and stacked with the bark still on, so the beetle population levels would have been naturally much lower and infections of the less-virulent DED strain also less widespread. 

The beetle population, and hence the risk of spread eastwards to Brighton & Hove, now booms and busts on an approx 15-year cycle of which we are somewhere near the peak 5-year period with lots of infected hedgerow elms of sufficient size to become grubby. We have had a number of grubby ones felled on Sompting Estate this autumn, dead ones that were not grubby have mostly been left as standing deadwood unless by a road or PROW and deemed a significant safety risk (which most aren't).

It is always painful to see well-loved landscape landmarks change. But sometimes there are good reasons. Maybe that's so in this case.

A postscript on this one. In this case as I understand it the disease was found to have already penetrated too far into the tree for it to be removed by pruning. The challenge then is to keep the infected trees as healthy as possible for as long as possible in spite of the disease, by seeking to prevent the xylem flow becoming blocked by the fungus. This can be assisted by reducing the tops so that the same root system can sustain proportionately more water pressure. And with Wheatley elms this is apparently a better prospect than with other elms as the Wheatley elms use up to 5 annual rings at a time (others using maybe 1 or 2), which means that if one gets blocked the others may still suffice to keep the tree living quite healthily despite the fungus.

South Downs Joint Committee Elm Tree page

14 October 2007
In Buckingham Park, Shoreham, a Large White Butterfly fluttered over, followed one of the small orange or brown butterfly or moths (which may be Vapourer Moths?) and a Speckled Wood at the top under the trees in the north-west. 
Adur Butterfly List 2007
Speckled Wood in Autumn
12 & 13 August 2007
A Southern Hawker was seen in the middle of Shoreham town and another one of these immigrant dragonflies was seen in another part of urban Shoreham. They are large and unmistakable once recognised (before that, they could be mistaken for Emperor Dragonflies).

6 August 2007
A Red Admiral Butterfly was seen in Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham. And I was surprised to see the grey form of a Sparrowhawk flying over the rooftops to the area with trees in the back gardens of the houses in the central area, but the raptor did not settle and was seen immediately afterwards flying north.

15 July 2007
Scores of House Martins flew over Southlands Hospital.

7 July 2007
A Comma Butterfly fluttered around my Privet hedge in Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham.
Adur Butterfly List 2007

18 June 2007
I was surprised by a male Meadow Brown Butterfly that settled in my small front garden in Corbyn Crecent, in residential Shoreham.

5 June 2007
A half a dozen or so Bee Orchid stalks were in flower on the verge in Mill Hill Road. A few Pyramidal Orchids were beginning including one on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.

25 May 2007
The first Bee Orchid of the year was seen on the verge in Mill Hill Road.

24 May 2007
I spotted a Jay very clearly in a small tree in a garden at the bottom of Stoney Lane at the junction with MIddle Road, east Shoreham.  A Speckled Wood Butterfly fluttered across the road in Kingston Buci as I cycled past.

2 May 2007
Holly Blue Butterflies were common in Shoreham town with frequent Small Whites and the occasional Red Admiral Butterfly.
Butterfly Report
13 April 2007
Dove's Foot Cranesbill was abundant on the unmown (most) verges in Crown Road, a residential part of Shoreham. It was plentiful elsewhere including the Mill Hill Cutting
13 March 2007
The Rooks are now confirmed with a close-up view at their rookery in a tall fir tree in The Drive, Shoreham.

8 March 2007
A pair of brownish-red Grey Squirrels mated at the foot of a tree around the gravestones of St. Mary de Haura Churchyard, New Shoreham.

7 March 2007
ColtsfootIn a brief spell of sunshine just after midday (when the air temperature reached 13.4 ºC) I was surprised by a Peacock Butterfly that landed on a wall in front of me in the southern part of Victoria Road, Shoreham. It was my first of the year for this species which emerges from hibernation when the weather is warm enough. It was bright and intact and flew away strongly.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

My first Coltsfoot (wild flower) grew in a clump on a flower bed on Ropetackle almost under the Railway Viaduct over the River AdurIn my town garden pond, an adult Smooth Newt swam out from under a rock.

2 March 2007
On the verges and open front gardens of the old chalkhill near the top of Chanctonbury Drive (SE of the bridge to Mill Hill), swathes of Lesser Celandine and Sweet Violets were flowering. Further up on the edge of the lawn and the wood near the bridge, I spotted my first Red Admiral Butterfly of the year. I also recorded my first hoverflies, my first 7-spot Ladybirds and first bugs of 2007, as well as queen Buff-tailed Bumblebees.
Adur Butterfly List 2007
Adur Butterfly Flight Times (New File)
Adur Ladybirds

28 February 2007
The Rooks seem to be again visiting their rookery in a tall fir tree in The Drive, Shoreham. They were only see through binoculars from the top of the road, but they seemed like Rooks and not Crows.

25 February 2007
I counted twenty Smooth Newts, Trituris vulgaris, in my Mill Hill Drive garden pond in north Shoreham, but there has not been any courtship displays yet.

Report by Brian Drury

24 January 2007
South-east England woke after an overnight flurry of snow and Shoreham was no exception with a layer in Shoreham town.

As the air temperature was always above freezing and the dew point only just below zero Celsius, so by the early afternoon almost all the snow had melted in town with only a light covering visible on the downs.

Shoreham Weather Highlights 2007

Grey Squirrel19 January 2007
There were at least three out of over a dozen noticeably brownish-red Grey Squirrels scampering around the gravestones of St. Mary de Haura Churchyard, New Shoreham, in a hazy temperate 12.3 ºC with a Gentle Breeze (Force 3) blowing from the SSW.

15 January 2007
There were a dozen plus Herring Gulls, including many immatures, on the roof of Perkins & Robins in Ham Road near Shoreham railway station and on the roof of the Burrell Arms making a mess with their droppings.

14 January 2007
The laughing call of the Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard at the top of Buckingham Park, Shoreham.

Report by Ken Bishop
12 January 2007
My first mushrooms seen this year were a small brown unidentified species growing on the wood chips in the shrub beds of McDonalds, Eastern Avenue, Shoreham.
Adur Fungi Reports 2007

1 January 2007
The first birds of the year heard were House Sparrows in Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham, but the first bird seen was a Pied Wagtail on a telephone wire, followed by a hundred Starlings and a hundred Herring Gulls in Shoreham town in the first hour. The first wild mammal seen in 2007 was a Grey Squirrel in St. Mary's Churchyard, Shoreham.

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2007 web pages