Waterworks Road & Butterfly Copse      2005
including the Pixie Footpath and Frampton's Field on the way to Mill Hill
(from May 2005, the Pixie Path entries will be on their web page only)
Waterworks Road and Pixie Path to Mill Hill transect is 525 metres long (Magic Map)
When I went to St. Nicolas School in the early 1960s this was at the foot of a bare (no scrub) Mill Hill.

Link to Waterworks Wildlife 2006

17 November 2005
Under a wind chill of about 5° C there was very little moving, no flying insects, and the Sycamore leaves dislodged by a handful of Wood Pigeons in the Butterfly Copse. I thought I recognised the alarm call of the Wren, Troglodytes troglodytes, and at least two small birds amongst the bare trees, but seen in the middle branches at a height of about four metres and I usually associate Wrens with lower storey branches and undergrowth. However, in this case there was considerable Ivy growing up the tree. They did not look dumpy enough for Wrens either ...? I only got two fleeting glances silhouetted against the sky. The birds then eluded my binocular search.

2 November 2005
Sulphur Tuft, Hypholoma sublateritium, Sulphur Tuft, Hypholoma sublateritium,

After the rain the designated footpath (between the Waterworks Road and the Steyning Road, Old Shoreham) produced a two mushrooms growing in the soil amongst the leaf litter of Field Maple: Sulphur Tuft, Hypholoma sublateritium, with gills with a blue tinge and Sulphur Tuft, Hypholoma fasciculare, with a yellow tinge to its gills (although this would not reproduce in a photograph).
Shoreham Fungi 2005
25 October 2005
There were two Common Inkcaps in the Field MapleSpinney between the Steyning Road and the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham. 
Shoreham Fungi 2005

The image shows one broken off and inverted. 

Ink Caps

20 October 2005
Rooting Shank

The designated footpath (between the Waterworks Road and the Steyning Road, Old Shoreham) produced a two mushrooms growing in the soil amongst the leaf litter of Field Maple. I have tentatively identified this species as the Rooting Shank, Oudemansiella radicata. The stem was quite strong and could not be broken easily, although one of the mushrooms was easily uprooted. The height of the fungus was measured at 90 mm and the cap diameter as 50 mm.
Shoreham Fungi 2005
4 October 2005
This plant at the southern entrance to the Waterworks Road is a naturalised garden species. It is species of Shamrock, Oxalis
 ID by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature)

The British flora contains one Oxalis acetosella, the Wood Sorrel with lilac flowers. 

27 September 2005
I did not visit the Waterworks Road but passage through the Butterfly Copse produced one Red Admiral Butterfly, one Comma Butterfly, one Speckled Wood Butterfly, at least three Common Darter dragonflies, frequent hoverflies (mostly Eristalis but also Syrphus), bumblebees, blow-flies and Common Wasps.
Common Darter

Another four Red Admirals settled on the Ivy next to the Pixie Footpath in the north-west corner of Frampton's Fields.
6 September 2005
This small moth was easily disturbed and seen amongst the Stinging Nettles in the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road.

1405 Mother of Pearl Moth, Pleuroptya ruralis

 Nettle Feeders (UK Moths)

4 September 2005
The Waterworks Road hosted a handful of Large White Butterflies and at least two restless what were probably Green-veined Whites (but these butterflies did not settle for confirmation) and a courting pair of Speckled Woods. The nearby Butterfly Copse was disappointing with just a Large White and a Holly Blue. The most interesting insect in the late afternoon was what appeared to be a small reddish-brown damselfly* from a distance and smaller than a Common Darter also seen. I attempted to get close to this mystery insect without success. (*This is probably just a very small Common Darter Dragonfly?)

1 September 2005
Another Volucella zonaria was seen in the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road. There was a small Syrphus in the same copse.

30 August 2005
Comma Red Admiral

The Butterfly Copse with its Stinging Nettles, Ivy, Hawthorn and Buddleia played to host to at least one pristine Red Admiral, two or three Comma Butterflies, a passing Large White Butterfly and a Holly Blue.
Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List 2005

27 August 2005

The first Painted Lady Butterfly of 2005 in the lower Adur valley was seen in the Butterfly Copse by the Waterworks Road. Other butterflies in the day included a rich brown Comma Butterfly on Stinging Nettles on the Waterworks Road, a worn and battered Holly Blue on Ivy in the Butterfly Copse, with three Red Admirals, one worn and battered with a Speckled Wood. A handful of  Large Whites and Green-veined Whites were seen over the Stinging Nettles on the Waterworks Road verges.
Butterfly List for the Day

29 July 2005
Snakes cannot hear (although they can sense vibrations). This can be unfortunate for them if they choose to bask on tarmac roads, and this may explain the death of a Grass Snake on the Waterworks Road directly underneath the A27 Flyover Bridge (at the foot of the old Mill Hill). The snake was a bit flattened and it measured approximately 65 cm (over two foot) in length.  A Grass Snake had been seen before (several years ago)  on the south side of the bridge (Pixie Path) on the top (immediately above) of the downs.
On a fleeting visit to the Waterworks Road in the late afternoon where the number of butterflies were no more than a dozen of five species: a handful of Meadow Browns, at least three Gatekeepers, one Comma, on the road and Maple Spinney, and one Red Admiral and one Peacock in the Butterfly Copse, all seen in about ten minutes.
There were no skippers to be seen during this brief visit.

23 July 2005
There were two large dragonflies patrolling the Waterworks Road and sparring in mid-air. Their thoraces was green and their abdomen a brilliant blue with black markings. When one settled, I could see that its eye was a brilliant royal blue.
Southern Hawker Southern Hawker

In flight it was not easy to confidently identify this dragonfly and I was only sure it was Southern Hawker when it settled.

The usual butterflies were present including a count of seven Commas, including at least one smaller than normal fresh specimen which was nevertheless very quick to chase off much bigger Large White Butterflies before returning to its perch on the top of the Stinging Nettles. There was a smaller than usual fresh Speckled Wood Butterfly with a Red Admiral in the Butterfly Copse (next to the Waterworks Road). The other species were a handful both of Small/Essex Skippers, Gatekeepers and Green-veined Whites.

21 July 2005
A Peacock is unusual butterfly for mid-July. The one seen briefly in the Butterfly Copse (next to the Waterworks Road) was faded, but not worn, and flew off strongly and rapidly. There were five Comma Butterflies seen, the first one appearing immediately on Hawthorn. The berries of the Wayfaring Tree were reddening next to the footpath by the Steyning Road.
Butterfly List for the Day

8 July 2005
Ten seconds at close range was the only chance I managed of the dragonfly in a head on view. The bands were light blue and the tail-end of the abdomen was a continuous pale blue. This is conclusive evidence that the dragonfly is a Southern Hawker.
Butterflies included just one Comma.
Butterfly List for the Day

7 July 2005
This time the large dragonfly only appeared for about 20 seconds, but apart from the dark blue bands on white, I could not confirm its identity. In the late afternoon, the first butterfly seen was Marbled White on the verges of the A283 Steyning Road on the western side of the entrance to the Waterworks Road. Because it was both overcast and late in the day, a large number of butterflies was not expected with half a dozen Meadow Browns, just the one Comma seen, a Large White in the distance, and a Green-veined White disturbed amongst the Pyramidal Orchids (near the Steyning Road).
Yellow and black flying insects are numerous. They can be difficult to identify. This one was a Soldier Fly in the family Stratiomyidae

There was no yellow on the head of this specimen, the species Stratiomys potamidaThe yellow on the head only occurs in the female (which made me doubt my original identification).

It was discovered amongst the Stinging Nettles on the verges of the Waterworks Road, south of the A27 Flyover. 

Checklist of UK Recorded Stratiomyidae

7 July 2005
This hoverfly was photographed on Stinging Nettles in the in the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road and was completely forgotten at the time and the image only discovered on 31 October 2005.

The hoverfly was not immediately identified. The hoverfly was not immediately identified. It looks like a Volucella pellucens.
ID confirmed by Bastiaan Wakkie
on UK Hoverflies

Comma Butterfly6 July 2005
An astonishing 16 Comma Butterflies were seen on the Waterworks Road (Old Shoreham), and these excluded the possibility of counting the same butterfly twice. The actual count was about 30, but is was possible to ascertain the total number seen because at least ten were counted simultaneously resting on Brambles or Stinging Nettles as two pairs courted high in the air, with two others seen one in the Butterfly Copse and one near the Steyning Road. These Commas were all but two seen on the continual Stinging Nettle borders of the Waterworks Road, south of the A27 Flyover; a length of road of 100 metres. Only about five appeared in the first five minutes.  Other butterflies seen in fifteen minutes included one Large White*, one Large Skipper (confirmed), three Small/Essex Skippers (confirmed), two Green-veined Whites (confirmed) and three Meadow Browns. A Red Admiral fluttered strongly over the Butterfly Copse. The difference in size between the Large Skipper seen first and the Small Skipper seen a minute later was distinctive and obvious.  (*This could have been a Green-veined White?)
Magic Map Location
Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List 2005
In a small overgrown patch by the A283 Steyning Road before the footpath continues through the Field Maple, the small Self-heal  was very frequent. Helophilus pendulus (a hoverfly) on Ragwort Small (or Essex) Skipper photographed near the Steyning Road (footpath at the western entrance to the Maple Spinney) Honey Bee on Lesser Burdock

However, the reason for making a brief visit to the Waterworks Road was to try and identify the large dragonfly. It again put in an appearance of 20 seconds before disappearing, and this time the fast moving dragonfly looked to have a white abdomen banded in black or dark blue. Over the Butterfly Copse, another smaller dragonfly was probably a Common Darter, but this was active and restless and zoomed off before I could get a good look.
Hoverflies included the species Helophilus pendulus on and around the Stinging Nettles and the bumblebee mimic Volucella bombylans var. plumata was instantly spotted at the western entrance to the Field Maple Spinney.

In a small overgrown patch by the A283 Steyning Road before the footpath continues through the Field Maple, the small Self-heal plant (image above, far left) was very frequent, nearly a hundred flowers amongst White Clover.

2 July 2005
Overcast but without the rain, five Comma Butterflies were quickly seen amongst the Stinging Nettles in the Waterworks Road, probably the same ones seen three days ago and one even landed on me.
Phaonia pallida Magpie Moth Volucella inflata Comma

It sheer size, made it almost certainly a female Emperor Dragonfly*  (the one seen before) that patrolled over the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road. There is still the possibility is a Southern Hawker though. It remained for less than a minute after which time a variety of hoverflies and two Magpie Moths disturbed amongst the Stinging Nettles and one Meadow Brown Butterfly appeared with a single Common Blue Damselfly. One yellow and black hoverfly (perhaps a wasp or a bee or a soldier fly?) was unfamiliar but it flew away before it could be photographed. Another hoverfly was Volucella inflata which I have only just been able to recognise.
Adur Flies

1 July 2005
The large dragonfly was patrolling like before on the eastern verge above the Stinging Nettles, about 30 metres north of where the footpath crosses the Waterworks Road at the southern end. It estimated speed must have been about 19 mph, and it visibly wilted after it was hit by a rain drop and then darted under the hidden cover of the Sycamore wood as the rain poured down. However, this time I was able to get a slightly better view and I would still estimate the total length of the dragonfly to be at least 75 mm. The thorax was bright green but the abdomen was now seen to be dark blue patterns on a white background and without any yellowish tint on an overcast day.
This large dragonfly is either a female Emperor or a female Southern Hawker, and I have had this identification problem without resolving it at least three times before. The size is difficult to estimate with such rapid and unceasing flight. * A subsequent observation of a dragonfly on Mill Hill makes me think this is probably a Southern Hawker.
Report of Southern Hawker

29 June 2005
Despite being patient, I was still unable to get close enough to get a clear view of a large dragonfly with a bright yellow-white banded abdomen that patrolled the Waterworks Road, north of Old Shoreham, in bright sunlight. It moved so rapidly and darted in so many different directions, from one metre off the tarmac road surface to four metres up into the Sycamore leaves within a second or two, that I could not get a fix on it. It eventually settled after about three minutes but by the time I retrieved my binoculars I could not find it again. The dragonfly was at least 75 mm in length. Its identity remains unknown.
Have you considered immature female Southern Hawker? The coloured areas can be quite yellowish in the immature stages.

ID Suggestion by Philip Lord on UK Dragonflies (Yahoo Group)

I did get my reward of the my first ever sighting of the brilliant blue abdomen of the Beautiful Demioselle, Calopteryx virgo, with its large dark wings which I could see as it settled underneath a Sycamore leaf four metres above the Stinging Nettles. It looked a bit like a butterfly at first glance until the brilliance of the blue abdomen became apparent.
Adur Damselflies and Dragonflies

With a noisy squawk a splendidly coloured Green Woodpecker was seen close up as it flew in a semi-circular flight over the Waterworks Road. Stinging Nettles were the abundant dominant flora on the verges of the road.
Large Skipper
Comma Butterfly
Pyramidal Orchids by the Steyning Road (Old Shoreham)

Comma Butterflies were very prominent with eight different butterflies seen (and possibly as many as ten as twelve were counted, but two were definitely the same butterfly twice and two others probably were as well). There was one worn and slightly damaged Red Admiral amongst the nettles, a Large Skipper confirmed (and one that looked like a Small Skipper in flight), two Meadow Browns, about half a dozen Large White Butterflies* and two smaller white butterflies, probably Green-veined Whites?. There were two fresh Speckled Wood Butterflies in the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road. It was only a passing visit, prolonged because of the large dragonfly. A Burnet Moth was seen out of the corner of my eye.  (*These could have been Green-veined Whites?)
Butterfly Report for the Day

In a small overgrown patch by the A283 Steyning Road before the footpath continues through the Field Maple, Pyramidal Orchids were common, over hundred in flower.

23 June 2005
There was a fresh orangey Comma Butterfly that was very flighty amongst the Stinging Nettles, three Large Whites, a Meadow Brown Butterfly on the Waterworks Road and a Speckled Wood in the Butterfly Copse.
Adur Butterfly List 2005

20 June 2005
A distinctive hoverfly, the bumblebee mimic Volucella bombylans var. plumata was instantly spotted at the western entrance to the Field Maple spinney (hereafter called the Maple Spinney) footpath between the Waterworks Road and the Steyning Road. This hoverfly seems to be frequently seen (over 12 records) in June.
18 June 2005

Slow Worm

The Slow Worm was resting in the shade on the road near the beginning of the footpath to Mill Hill (before the Butterfly Copse). where there was lot of Wren activity by one of these small birds, but others were calling.

Common Blue Butterfly on the Waterworks Road (click on the image for a larger picture)9 June 2005
A Common Blue Butterfly settled on a Stinging Nettle. In the horse's field nearest to the Waterworks House, the grass and flowers seemed to had been cropped too short for any signs of the Bee Orchid. There was a few clumps of Red Campion.

15 May 2005
The Squash Bugs, Coreus, were mating and the usual butterflies were around.

Squash Bugs

Butterfly Report

2 May 2005
It was a beach day, but I did make a brief foray to the Waterworks Road to try and get a photograph of an Orange Tip. I could not get within seven metres of two pairs of Orange-Tips, with a three Green-Veined Whites, one Large White still chasing them and a Peacock Butterfly in the late afternoon.
Adur Butterfly List 2005

1 May 2005
Unlike two days ago, when I arrived at the southern end of the Waterworks Road, there were no butterflies to greet me. I dallied around to get some better photographs of the dozen or so Rhingia campestris Hoverflies and got distracted by the arrival of two Green-veined White Butterflies which got chased off by a Large White Butterfly twice their size. It was an interesting comparison. A Holly Blue Butterfly was the first to appear and I nearly trod on a Peacock Butterfly which was resting. The weather was a bit dull at the time.  A single Speckled Wood Butterfly was seen in the Butterfly Copse (by the steps on the footpath to Mill Hill). Buff-tailed Bumblebees and Carder Bees were noted. A Common Bee-Fly, Bombylius major, posed for a picture. The 14-spot Ladybird, Propylea quattuordecimpunctata, rested on a nettle.
Rhingia Hoverfly This is probably Eristalis tenax, the Drone Fly

TheRhingia hoverflies have been identified as Rhingia campestris. This is the most frequently encountered of the two Rhingia.

Identification by Stuart Ball on the UK Hoverflies Yahoo Group
Adur Hoverflies
Adur Bumblebees
Adur Ladybirds
Adur Flies

29 April 2005
Brimstone Butterfly, looking like a leafI knew was going to be a good day when I saw four species of butterfly in a minute on the Waterworks Road. The four Brimstone Butterflies, itself a local record together, four white butterflies including both confirmed Green-veined and Small Whites and two Peacock Butterflies in the first thirty metres was unprecedented.

Hoverflies and bumblebees  visited the White Dead-nettle, Dandelions and Green Alkanet. One of the hoverflies had an upturned snout indicating the genus Rhingia. Squash Bugs, Coreus, were common, probably over a hundred in an area of ten square metres on nettles with a handful of Nursery Web Spiders and many more spiders were likely to be hiding.

As usual, the Brimstone Butterflies were reluctant to settle. When the one in the photograph on the right did, it chose the underneath of a leaf and it was difficult to spot. Then the batteries ran out on my camera and I felt the first spots of rain.
It was about an hour later that I returned to find all the butterflies and most of the flying insects had disappeared.
Dove's Cranes-bill on the Waterworks Road verges Peacock Butterfly on Dandelion The Small White Butterfly was flighty and it it took a few minutes to settle Squash Bug

There was a Peacock Butterfly on the Pixie Path. and then a dark Common Lizard with a full length tail skittered rapidly over the fallen lichen-covered broken fence as a Pill Bug (the wood-louse that rolls up into a ball) crawled amongst the Cladonia Pixie Cups.

Adur Butterfly List 2005

27 April 2005
The first Milkwort flower and the first Common Mouse-ear of the year were seen on the side of the Pixie Path to Mill Hill.

18 April 2005
The strange and unusual looking Morel Mushroom, Morchella esculenta, was seen on the side of the Pixie Path to Mill Hill. It looked dried out but I expect they always look like this. There were small orange ants around the base of the mushroom.
Fungi of Shoreham

16 April 2005
A female Sparrowhawk actively hunting at the southern end of the Waterworks Road in the back gardens of the houses, before the cliff descends vertically, was a handsome sight. I noticed the fanning of the tail feathers as it stalled before landing or striking (out of view). The identification of the Sparrowhawk was not definite, the brown colouring, the tail wings fan, the size and the behaviour, low level flying and gliding and turning rapidly in a small area, indicated Sparrowhawk, but the barring could have been a female Kestrel, possibly, which have been known to behave in this way on frequent occasions in autumn.
Just before this as I descended the footpath from Mill Hill I spotted two corvids in a single tree, one was a Jay and the other was a Crow, and then a Magpie appeared.

15 April 2005
Dog Violets were the only violets now on the Pixie Path to Mill Hill. Flying insects were numerous including bumblebees, a few hoverflies, flies and mining bees. There was an obliging Holly Blue Butterfly and a gall of some sort.
Holly Blue Holly Blue

More Images

10 April 2005
The first dozen Dog Violets were in flower on the Pixie Path to Mill Hill, but on the lower slopes of Mill Hill the Sweet Violet was still the dominant flower with tens of thousands.

The white spur and pointed sepals leave no question about the identification.
Adur Violets

3 April 2005
It was shirt sleeves weather in the afternoon sunshine on the warmest (17.5 ºC) day of the year.

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 on a moss covered broken fence. The lizard's tail seemed short than its full size. The lizard may have lost part of its tail and regrown it by a process called autotomy.
Lizard Images File

1 April 2005
A Great Tit in the Hawthorn and other bushes on the road embankment next to the Pixie Footpath flew across the road to the bushes on the Mill Hill side of the A27 Main Road. One of the Forget-me-Nots were in flower next to the Cladonia Pixie Cup lichens.

There was a moth resting on the fence in the Butterfly Copse as photographed above. It assume that is nocturnal moth resting up during the day as it did not fly away when poked, but dropped to the ground. This moth is the Early Grey, Xylocampa areola. The yellowish-brown larvae feed on Honeysuckle, Lonicera.

Identification by Paul Boswell on the UK Leps (Yahoo Group)


18 March 2005
A Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly was disturbed basking in the midday sun on the Pixie Footpath adjacent to the horse's fields on the way to Mill Hill. It was probably the one from two days ago and it was in the same place on the bridleway section parallel with the A27 Main Road but it appeared darker and flew off and disappeared when disturbed just like before.

Lichens and other epixylic organisms

16 March 2005
A Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly was disturbed basking in the midday sun on the Pixie Footpath adjacent to the horse fields on the way to Mill Hill, and I was quick enough to make a positive identification. This is the second probably of the day and the first confirmed local sighting of 2005.
Lichen Lichen
Cladonia Pixie Cup Lichen

Mosses and lichens (above) on fallen fences proved difficult to photograph because of their small size and their apparent preference for the shade.
Pixie Cups and other epixylic organisms (Local Link)

Pixie Cups in the SnowThe first ladybird of the year was a 7-spot Ladybird, Coccinella septempunctata, in the Butterfly Copse (near the Waterworks Road). I saw three ladybirds. They remained still and did not fly off when teased.
Adur Ladybirds

27 February 2005
The Pixie Cups (see below) were surrounded by a thin layer of snow.

8 February 2005
A spell of sunshine around midday at sea level turned to mist on the gentle climb to Mill Hill. Not expecting much natural life, my attention was drawn to the growths on some broken fences that had been left to rot. The various unidentified mosses, lichens etc. are illustrated below. The photograph on the right shows the podentia of a CladoniaPixie Cup Lichen.
Cladonia Pixie Cups amongst Moss

The fences were to the north at the top of the path as it passed by the large (three metres high plus) hedge on the southern side that formed the garden boundary. This means that they were in the shade.
More Images


Waterworks Road and Butterfly Copse 2004

UK Ladybirds

Adur Levels 2005

Link to Adur Nature Notes 2005  Index page