Adur Levels & Estuary 2014

Adur Levels and Estuary 2015

30 December 2014
A dozen, probably more, Redshanks were seen avidly feeding on the river mud between the the Railway Viaduct and the Toll Bridge with Dunlins and Grey Plovers. Two Teals swam on the shallow water. North of the Toll Bridge, three Little Grebes dived repeatedly and one of them appeared to have caught a fish. A Cormorant was fishing in the river and a Little Egret patrolled the mud bank. Around the first bend north of Old Shoreham, four hundred plus Common Gulls roosted on the mud.

Grey Plover
Little Grebes

29 December 2014
A Kingfisher was a colourful speck on the sandbank north of the Toll Bridge at Old Shoreham. One of the anglers on the bridge landed a Flounder on lugworm bait. Otherwise on a 4 metre neap tide (range 5.4 m - 1.4 m) in the mid-afternoon there we were Redshanks and Dunlins on the mud and a couple of Cormorants with the inevitable gulls. At low tide around midday, Gary Levett photographed a Curlew from the Toll Bridge.

19 December 2014

A Lapwing takes a dip at low tide on the River Adur at Old Shoreham
(The photograph was taken into the sun.)

13 December 2014

A young Redshank probed in the mud by Little High Street Public Hard at Ropetackle, Shoreham

11 December 2014

Kingfisher at Cuckoo's Corner
Photograph by Paul Loader

Kingfishers moved down to the River Adur estuary during the winter. Usually, the most of them that can be seen is them arrowing away in a high speed flight.

8 December 2014

A Tundra Bean Goose, Anser fabalis rossicus, made an unusual and surprise visit to the lower Adur Valley and was spotted on the river near Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes Road, (which is on the western bank of the River Adur north of Lancing and a short trek along the towpath from Shoreham). The large bird was feeding on a high spring tide amongst the Sea Purslane before being disturbed and flying off.
This Bean Goose is a very scarce visitor (Winter Visitor, Passage Migrant) to Sussex.It breeds in north Scandinavia, north Russia and north Asia, and visits East Anglia in small numbers in autumn and winter.

Report & Photograph by Dorian Mason
SOS Reports
Birdguide Reports
Dorian Mason Bird and Nature Photography

A Common Sandpiper was spotted on the banks of the River Adur north of the Flyover.

Report & Image by Paul Loader flickr
1 December 2014
Two hours after low tide was feeding time on the River Adur between the Railway Viaduct and the Toll Bridge as a Shelduck ducked its head under water at the tideline, one of a handful of Grey Plovers were seen extracting a worm from the sticky mud, and a small flock of Dunlins trotted over the mud with a handful of Redshanks. Most of the distant gulls were roosting or preening.  Greater Black-backed Gulls were prominent and numbered about a dozen on a thin strip of mud.

It was a cloudy day and it was too poor light for any decent photographs of the birds on the mud at binocular range. North of the Toll Bridge, one of fifty Lapwings was seen pattering the mud and then dipping its beak in the river to feed. A single Little Egret was seen to strike and swallow a fish which seemed to momentarily choke the long-necked bird on its way down. Later, south of the Railway Viaduct a single Oystercatcher probed amongst the mussel beds.

30 November 2014
Two Cormorants were fishing between the Railway Viaduct and the Toll Bridge and surrounded by a flock of gulls, but they did not emerge with any fish. Four Redshanks together and a Little Egret patrolled the tideline.

29 November 2014


I ventured down to the River Adur at low tide around the Toll Bridge. There were plenty of Lapwings, probably about two hundred and fifty, and even more numerous mixed gulls, but the other sea birds were a small flock of Dunlins and Ringed Plovers and three or four Cormorants.

28 November 2014
Along the River Adur at mid-tide between the Railway Viaduct and the Toll Bridge along with the usual amazing collection of gulls I spotted two Curlew, a Shelduck, many Lapwings, Oystercatchers, Redshanks a beautiful Kingfisher, three Cormorants all fishing in about 25 cm of water with an Little Egret following them excitedly, and the first for me in Shoreham: an Avocet.

Report by Keith Akehurst

20 November 2014
On a cloudy day a Cormorant dived repeatedly under the water in the River Adur north of the Flyover, but it never appeared with a fish in its beak. South of the Toll Bridge, two further Cormorants were perched.

15 November 2014

Lesser Hawkbit 
 Great Black-backed Gull
Bristly Ox-tongue 

Two Great Black-backed Gulls were unusually near the shore on the mud flats north of the Toll Bridge. A closer look and one of these large gulls was playing with a Flounder almost as as long as the bird. It seemed unable to feed on it but was unwilling to part with its trophy, carrying the large fish as it swam out with the tide under a cloudy sky. A single Little Grebe dived under a few metres away and surfaced with a large prawn in its beak. There were the usual gulls and waders including a Little Egret, Redshanks and Dunlins.
On land, there was precious colour about; an occasional flower of the Daisy family: Bristly Ox-tongue, Dandelion, Ragwort, Hawkweed Ox-tongue, Ox-eye Daisy, Yarrow, Lesser Hawkbit, and the umbellifers Hogweed and Wild Parsnip, with two Red Clovers and one Common Toadflax on the bank next to the River Adur at Old Shoreham.
Cichorioid Daisies

20 October 2014

 Small mushrooms, possibly Stropharia
 Viper's Bugloss
Lesser Hawkbit 
Dandelion & Tree Bumblebee 

Downs Link Cyclepath (Old Shoreham - Upper Beeding)

18 October 2014

Photograph by Etienne Fournier
River Adur, by Adur Recreation Ground/Adur Viaduct

16 October 2014
Lapwings are back on the River Adur mud for the winter. The tide was near a neap high in the late afternoon and there were only about forty Lapwings on a thin strip of mud north of the Toll Bridge.

11 October 2014
A Kingfisher streaked like an arrow across the River Adur at a high rapidly falling tide from near (slightly west of) the back of the Crown & Anchor pub towards the houseboats.

5 October 2014
Throughout the year, gulls congregate on the mud flats of the River Adur at the middle to low tides, north of the Railway Viaduct. There are more in numbers in variety in winter where the Great Black-backed Gull is a regular presence. Dedicated birdwatchers will scan the roosting gulls for the frequent waders and rarities and to test their skills at gull identification, which is tricky with the juveniles and vagrant visitors.
A gull with a white head and long flapping wings, was positively identified as a visiting Caspian Gull, Larus cachinnans, a very scarce (or under-recorded) gull in Sussex and Britain.

Report & Images on Birding Never Sleeps

A Clouded Yellow Butterfly fluttered in the sunshine over a meadow between the cyclepath and the River Adur north of Old Shoreham on the same latitude as Old Erringham. There was very little colour or movement. On the outgoing tide, a Little Grebe was seen taking flight, skimming over the calm water.

1 October 2014
With the low neap tide on the River Adur at Old Shoreham, plenty of mud was showing (tidal height: about 4 metres) and about five Oystercatchers probed south of the Toll Bridge, as a Cormorant fished in open water. North of the Toll Bridge a Greenshank probed at the water's edge. Around the first bend north of Old Shoreham, scores of Common Gulls congregated on a narrow bank of mud. On shore, Goldfinches picked at the Teasels and Lesser Burdock for seeds. The tiny Flea Bug, Lygocoris pabulinus, was seen on Fleabane.

24 September 2014
On a cloudy day. I picked an overcast period as the River Adur was flooded by an equinoctial spring tide just after midday. Three Grey Herons stood in the Sea Purslane covered shallows with two Little Egrets, at the first bend in the river north of the Toll Bridge. These five birds were disturbed by dog walkers and made a narrow flight from the eastern shallows of the river to the other side. A handful of Swallows flew overhead.

 Grey Heron
 Common Darters

Darters (dragonflies) were occasionally spotted including a mating pair of Common Darters flying in tandem over the Downs Link Cyclepath, north of Old Shoreham. A Speckled Wood Butterfly was seen nearby.

19 September 2014
Butterflies have given way to spiders, crane flies and dragonflies on an Indian Summer day (> 21.4°C). Common Darters were present over streams and patches of water like field drainage, and larger dragonflies were either Southern Hawkers or Migrant Hawkers and probably both. Large Whites, and Red Admirals were still around and Speckled Woods courting in the shadier places. A squirm of Goldfinches could be more easily seen since the hedges had been shorn.

17 September 2014
Three Little Egrets were fishing simultaneously in the shallow pools underneath the Railway Viaduct over the River Adur.

4 September 2014
Although still warm (> 21°C) with not much of a breeze, but there were still signs of change, with scores of immigrant Starlings in the hedgerows amongst the blackberries, elderflower berries, rose hips and haws. A score or more Great Black-backed Gulls rested with other gulls on the mud flats at low tide between the Railway Viaduct and the Toll Bridge. Two Southern Hawkers patrolled the mown hedgerows next to the cyclepath at Old Shoreham.

2 September 2014
3 September 2014
  Downs Link Cyclepath
2 September 2014
I was surprised by a few rays of sunshine in the afternoon, so my cycle ride along the path from Old Shoreham to Upper Beeding was extended to Anchor Bottom in shirt-sleeved weather. Hawker dragonflies were seen quickly and at least one of four was identified as a Southern Hawker. Large Whites were frequently seen and size was not a guide as there were small ones and these could be mistaken for Small Whites, which also occurred. In the shady areas there were a few Speckled Woods and one Holly Blue. A patch of Buddleia south of the Cement Works attracted Red Admirals (which were also seen elsewhere), a Comma Butterfly and Brimstones. The Buddleia on the path by the Cement Works attracted a Peacock Butterfly.
Adur Butterfly Report

31 August 2014
On the flood tide over the River Adur (between Old Shoreham & the Cement Works) well over a hundred House Martins flew to and fro over the calm water. Two hawker dragonflies flew over the cyclepath north of Old Shoreham.

14 August 2014

 Rosebay Willowherb
Traveller's Joy
 Comma Butterfly

After being interrupted by a rain shower, I cycled from Old Shoreham along the path to Erringham Lay-by noting a cruising Southern Hawker (dragonfly), Red Admiral Butterfly, Meadow Browns, Green-veined White and a Comma Butterfly. It was cloudy, breezy and overcast, inimical for watching butterflies blown about on the wind.

3 August 2014
I almost collided with a Comma Butterfly as I cycled over the first lay-by on the Steyning Road, north of Old Shoreham. About a minute later I spotted a Small White Butterfly and these were both species not seen two days previously. Cloudy, breezy and humid and generally an unsatisfactory day for butterflies with only a Red Admiral and a Gatekeeper seen on a passage trip along the cyclepath from the Erringham Lay-by to Ropetackle.

22 July 2014
A cycle ride to Annington Sewer and back, with a detour to Anchor Bottom, brought 15 different species of butterfly, but the highlight of the day was a male Banded Demoiselle over a stream next to the cyclepath halfway between Old Shoreham and Upper Beeding. This blue demoiselle has a butterfly-like wing, but like all damsels lands with its wings closed.

The cyclepath verges hosted the following butterflies in order of prevalence: Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Large Whites, Red Admirals, Peacocks, Wall Browns, Small Skippers, Speckled Woods, Small Tortoiseshells, Green-veined Whites, Small White and a Comma. I spotted a Southern Hawker patrolling the flowering Buddleia at the edge of the cyclepath south of the Cement Works. One Hemp Agrimony bush on the verges of the cyclepath near Old Shoreham, attracted a Red Admiral, a Gatekeeper, Large White and a Peacock Butterfly all at the same time as I cycled past.
Full Butterfly Report

20 July 2014
Large Grey Mullet were trapped in the Emerald Quay lock by the weir at low tide. This is an expected event every summer.

Old Shoreham Cyclepath

19 July 2014
Shoals of Bass, Dicentrarchus labrax, fry were seen in the shallows at Surry Hard. This is an expected event every summer.
4 July 2014
A cycle trek over the reclaimed land north of the Hasler Estate (south Lancing) (Bristol Avenue to Prince Avenue) revealed Whirligig Beetles on the surface of the drainage ditch/stream separating the two fields, plus frequent butterflies; occasional Small Tortoiseshells and Meadow Browns, a possible Ringlet and a Speckled Wood. A Large White was seen earlier. Previous reports have included Grass Snakes from this area. 

30 June 2014
As the high tide lapped against the Sea Purslane near the banks of the River Adur at Old Shoreham, a shoal of tens of thousands of first year juvenile Grey Mullet milled around in the shallows just south of the Toll Bridge. There was another shoal of a similar size on the first bend in the river further north.

Juvenile Grey Mullet, Chelon labrosus
Tufted Vetch
Large Skipper
Small Tortoiseshell

I cycled the towpath from Old Shoreham to the Cement Works and back spotting butterflies at regular intervals on the way, with frequent 30+ Ringlets the most prevalent, occasional Meadow Browns, occasional Red Admirals, at least one Small Tortoiseshell and one Large Skipper (both on Tufted Vetch), a few Marbled Whites, a few Large Whites and pretty little moth which I did not recognise.
Adur Butterfly List 2014

29 June 2014

Two Bar-tailed Godwits arrived on the muddy margins of the River Adur (opposite the Airport, near the Toll Bridge) just before midday as the tide came in.

19 June 2014

 Ox-eye Daisies
Rosebay Willowherb
 Viper's Bugloss

Adur Cyclepath, Old Shoreham

Speckled Wood10 June 2014
A Red Admiral was seen on the towpath by the houseboats in Shoreham. It was the first of seven tattered or worn specimens seen on the Adur Levels on a trip from the Riverbank to Ladywell's Stream. It was accompanied by my first Mint Moth, Pyrausta aurata, of the year. Other butterflies seen on-route were at least one each of Small Whites and Large Whites.
A flash of turquoise in the roadside woods by Ladywell's Stream, on the Coombes Road, was a Kingfisher flying straight like an arrow. This stream on the eastern side of the road hosted Sticklebacks and I noted an Azure Damselfly, Coenagrion puella, on the streamside vegetation. At Cuckoo's Corner Ladywell's Stream ran rapidly out to the sea. Amongst the trees that bordered the bank, two flashes of dark blue were two male Banded Demoiselles, too far away to photograph. A very fresh Speckled Wood Butterfly was seen at Cuckoo's Corner.
Adur Pyralids
Adur Damselflies

4 May 2014
Hawthorn was in blossom along the verges of the cyclepath from Old Shoreham to Upper Beeding and everywhere this ubiquitous bush grows. It was a sign of summer just about making an appearance.

2 May 2014
Whirlygig Beetles were seen in Ladywells Stream on the eastern side of the Coombes Road on a cloudy day.

17 April 2014
Hawthorn was seen in flower for the first time this year at Botolphs, but were only budding at Old Shoreham.
A Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly settled on the towpath near Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes Road. A Brimstone Butterfly fluttered over the verges near Ladywells followed by a pair of Orange-tip Butterflies. A Speckled Wood Butterfly settled on the cyclepath near Botolphs. Water Skaters were seen on the surface of Annington Sewer. Cowslips were abundantly in flower on the verges of the cyclepath between Old Shoreham and Upper Beeding.

14 April 2014

A first of the year Large Red Damselfly settled briefly in the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham.
Adur Dragonfly Reports 2014

11 April 2014
I spotted my first male Orange-tip Butterfly of the year fluttering rapidly and continuously over the road verge north of Ladywell's Stream on the Coombes Road (north of Cuckoo's Corner).
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

6 April 2014


3 April 2014

 Ground Ivy
 Red Deadnettle

Outskirts of Shoreham

14 January 2014

Mute Swan

Whilst waiting ten minutes for the new Adur Ferry Bridge to swing open for pedestrians and cyclists, more than watching the bird life deliberately from Coronation Green, the birds made themselves noticed; a Black-headed Gull and immature Herring Gull landing nearby and a Mute Swan taking off from the small amount of fast flowing water. As the mussel bed appeared from the receding tide, a Little Egret flew upstream low over the surface. An hour or so later as the light began to fade in the late afternoon, I noted the usual Greater Black-backed Gulls and flocks of Lapwings on the mud between the Norfolk Bridge and Toll Bridge.
10 January 2014
The study Golden Willow tree on an Old Erringham border between two pasture fields, finally succumbed to the gales and heavy rain of the new year. 

3 January 2014
I was right in the middle of the new Adur Ferry Bridge when the the low flying clouds in mid-afternoon were illuminated by a flash of lightning followed immediately by one tremendous clap of thunder and a second clap a few seconds later. I was nearly blown from my bicycle by a gust of wind and battered by hailstones.

Adur Levels and Estuary 2013

Adur Valley & Downs on facebook
Downs-Coastal Link Cyclepath