Adur Levels & Estuary 2020

9 October 2020


Knepp Estate

17 September 2020
The high spring tide condensed the waders, including 27 Lapwing, and also 13 Little Egrets on to the vegetated mud flats by the houseboats, River Adur estuary as it runs through Shoreham town.

llustrated Report by Tim Holter  facebook
Shoreham Birding

15 September 2020
Eleven Oystercatchers perched all in a row on a sandbank by Ropetackle North in the calm sunshine.

Illustrated Report by Jack Churchett Adur Valley & Downs facebook
20 August 2020

Fifty mostly adult Shore Crabs, Carcinus maenas, were attracted to the chicken bait in three small drop-nets in under an hour from the Toll Bridge at high tide on a sunny afternoon.

15 August 2020
A Cormorant was fishing in the narrow fast running channel at low tide seen from Coronation Green.

14 August 2020
Their squeaky call heralded as many as three pairs of Oystercatchers over the Adur at low tide between the Railway Viaduct and the Ferry Bridge.

13 August 2020

Gulls feeding on flying Ants

10 August 2020


9 August 2020
A Kingfisher arrowed its rapid flight over the flooded River Adur by the Toll Bridge.

7 August 2020
The first winter Lapwing was seen back on the River Adur mud.

Illustrated post by Jo Parsons on Shoreham Birding  facebook

3 August 2020
I added two more species of butterfly to yesterdays tally of 19: a faded Comma and a bright Small Tortoiseshell, sharing the Buddleia bush with Red Admirals, on the western side of the South Downs Way bridge over the Adur near Botolphs.

The family of Mute Swans on Annington Sewer comprised the two parents and three almost fully sized very dark cygnets.
30 July 2020
A very unusual Silver-washed Fritillary was spotted on Buddleia by the River Adur near Botolphs.

It was unusual because this is a woodland butterfly.

11 July 2020
A Sparrowhawk obligingly stayed on the bow of Houseboat Thanet long enough for me to get some photos.

Illustrated Report by Jessica Aidley facebook

10 July 2020
All three Stork chicks had left the nest at Knepp this morning, and were foraging close to the nest tree. They all looked in very good condition and appeared very tolerant of us humans. At one point we also saw seven adult Storks using the thermals to gain height, spiralling out of sight.

Illustrated Report by Tony Benton on Shoreham Birding  facebook

9 July 2020
One of the Stork chicks at the Knepp Estate left the nest. This is the first Stork to have fledged in the wild in Britain in 600 years.

Report by Tony Benton on Shoreham Birding  facebook
Nesting Report
White Stork Project

2 July 2020
The languid flight of the first of the year Ringlet Butterfly fluttered over the Downs Link Cyclepath verges, midway between Erringham Gap and the Cement Works, on a cool cloudy afternoon. A Red Admiral was spotted with its wings closed at the same time.
Adur Butterfly List 2020

Summer Flowers
Rosebay Willowherb, Wild Basil, Marjoram
Self-heal, Buddleia, Teasel, Lesser Burdock
Downs Link Path verges, Old Shoreham to south of the Cement Works (dis).

 22 June 2020

Weld, Black Horehound, Common Mallow, Burdock
River Adur

20 June 2020

Common Seal
Photograph by Mary Lawrenson  facebook

A young Common Seal rested an the River Adur mud at low tide in the morning in the middle of town. In the afternoon it was seen upriver near Cuckoo's Corner.

13 June 2020

Bladder Campion, Rosebay Willowherb, Pyramidal Orchid
Yellow Rattle, Lady's Bedstraw
Downs Link Cyclepath verges
Erringham Gap to the Cement Works (dis)

9 June 2020

Downs Link Path, south of the Cement Works (dis)

Amongst the dominant Ox-eye Daisies there were scores of flowering Common Spotted Orchids and scores of part-flowering Pyramidal Orchids as well as the first Red Bartsia. A large fly visited the Ox-eye Daisies. Initial identification of the fly was as the Four-lined Horsefly, Atylotus rusticus.
A young Field Vole was spotted out in the open in the meadows near the river.
Adur Orchids

31 May 2020
It was quite long for an impromptu Sunday cycle ride from Old Shoreham along the eastern towpath to the Bramber Levels, south of the village, and a return along the Coombes Road. A Yellowhammer flying into an Elderflower tree near Botolphs was the only thing noteworthy on the whole ride.

29 May 2020
My first Meadow Brown Butterfly of the year was spotted on the west-facing embankment of the Airport Towpath. This was an early record.

27 May 2020

Painted Lady on Dogwood

A couple of fluttering Holly Blue Butterflies attracted me to the Dogwood on the eastern verge of the Downs Link Cyclepath at Old Shoreham, when I then noticed my first Painted Lady of the year. This immigrant butterfly is much larger but was elusive to photograph in the late afternoon.

24 May 2020
Small Heath Butterflies (10+) frequently fluttered around a thistle patch in the north-east corner of Shoreham Airport. Welted Thistle was the only one flowering but plenty of prickles penetrated my trousers. The soil was dry but there was still Yellow Flag in flower by the perimeter drainage ditch.

Vetch Bank

The reforming of the airport towpath created a new west-facing embankment which was colonised by the welcome sight of large patches of Kidney Vetch, with a smaller number of clumps of first of the year Melilot and Tufted Vetch, as well as clumps of White Clover and Hop Trefoil, scattered White Campion, occasional Red Campion, and two clumps of Mayweed. Most unexpected were the first shoots of Glasswort that appeared on dry sand next to the airport road Cecil Pashley Way.

21 May 2020
Wild Carrot was seen with its flowering umbel for the first time this year next to the path immediately north of Ropetackle North building site. Welted Thistle was next to it.

Oystercatcher off Surry Public Hard

18 May 2020

Yellow Flag Iris at Castle Lane Park

I cycled a largely uneventful trip* to Castle Lane Park in Bramber where there was a shoal of over fifty Rudd. On the way I inspected an old Ash tree in Bramber and unfortunately found occasional black wilting leaves which is a sign of Chalara Ash die-back disease. I also caught out a Jay before it dodged into the Downs Link hedges near the Erringham Gap.
(*Downs Link north, Coombes Road south.)

16 May 2020

Ash now in leaf
Brookland near Annington

In Sussex and Kent, brook means "water-meadow," and in plural, "low, marshy ground."
Brook etymology

12 May 2020

Bulbous Buttercups at Old Shoreham

6 May 2020

White Stork
Photograph by Sue Gale

For the first time in over five centuries a pair of White Storks, Ciconia ciconia, living wild on the Knepp Estate, in the Adur valley, have seen the first egg of five hatch in their large new nest at the top of an old Oak Tree. This rewilding project was started with the introduction of a pair of adult Storks from Poland in 2016. However, the introduced female appears to have mated with a vagrant male bird. Three chicks have been seen.

White Stork Project

4 May 2020

Little Egret on the Adur on a low neap tide

Hawthorn was splendidly in blossom, best seen from the western towpath north of Old Shoreham. I think the peak blossom is yet to show though. Some trees were well past their best but others were just budding. Elderflower, Water Dropwort and Crosswort were seen for the first time in flower this year.
Adur Thorn

2 May 2020
A Short-nosed Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, was a surprising discovery in a shallow rockpool in the River Adur estuary by the Scout Hut, Adur Recreation Ground.

Photograph & Video Report by Sue Gale

Two species of Seahorse are found in the seas around the British Isles: the Spiny Seahorse, Hippocampus guttulatus, is rare in the English Channel, recorded off Dorset and the western approaches mostly. The Short-nosed Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, is occasionally found in deep water around the Channel Islands, unusual but widespread elsewhere. It was also recorded off the coast of Holland in 1998. This species is found in deep water off the Sussex coast, notably off Southwick, near Shoreham-by-Sea.

BMLSS Seahorses (for the younger reader)
BMLSS Seahorses & Pipefishes

14 April 2020


My allowed cycle exercise took me a trip up the Downs Link only as far as just south of the disused Cement Works (before the path narrows). The idea was to see the plentiful display of Cowslips that adorned the verges. There was a chill to the north-east breeze and there was not much wildlife activity: a couple of Goldfinches amongst the still bare twigs and a few bumblebees visited the paucity of flowers. Wayfaring Tree was blossoming in the hedgerow bordering the Downs Link.
Adur Primula

Ground Ivy

In the meadowlands between the cyclepath and the River Adur, I spotted my first fish of the year, a 3-spined Stickleback where the stream ran fast and clear underneath the Hawthorn. A pair of Mallards swam together on the main river at low tide. There was huge patch of Ground Ivy in the meadow. I was surprised by the fluttering and the flash of orange of a male Orange-tip Butterfly over the meadow where I had not seen one before. A few minutes later I spotted an all white female fluttering rapidly away..

10 April 2020
In the bright afternoon sunshine my first Speckled Wood of the year fluttered over the Waterworks Road. Activity was mainly Queen Buff-tailed Bumblebees and buzzing Spring (Hairy-footed) Flower Bees, Anthophora plumipes, attracted to the flowering White Deadnettle. Immediately on arrival I disturbed a Brimstone Butterfly on Spanish Bluebells. I stayed long enough (30+ minutes) for a male Orange-tip Butterfly and a Green-veined White to put in a fleeting unsettled appearance.
In the canopy Wayfaring Tree was blossoming with its white umbel-like flowers and Hawthorn was in green leaf as most of the early Blackthorn petals had fallen.
Adur Butterfly List 2020

7 April 2020
Brimstone Butterflies were fluttering around, notably in St. Nicolas Lane, Old Shoreham. My first of the year male Orange-tip Butterfly was unmistakable over the deserted Waterworks Road in the early afternoon. I was not sure about the three larger white butterflies that sparred with the Orange-tip? Almost certainly they were Green-veined Whites from a brief look and past experience.

Hawthorn at the closed Cuckoo's Corner car park

Blackthorn was flowering near the Scout Hut on the Coombes Road. Hawthorn was in leaf at Cuckoo's Corner where the first Garlic Mustard flowered by the side of the road. A female Pheasant suddenly whirred into flight from the verges approaching the A27 traffic lights from the north.

19 March 2020
Blackthorn was flowering in the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham, one bush ahead of the rest. Yellow Archangel was flowering on the eastern verge.

18 March 2020

Photograph by Dave Hoggen

A Whimbrel was spotted on the River Adur, It was an unexpected and unusual occurrence in the centre of Shoreham town, seen on the mussel beds from Coronation Green.

Illustrated Report by Dave Hoggen flickr
A Red Kite was seen drifting over urban Southwick, heading towards Shoreham, mobbed by gulls.
Report by Nick Carpmael, Adur Valley & Downs facebook

Blackthorn at Cuckoo's Corner

At Cuckoo's Corner, the Blackthorn bush was profusely in flower.
Adur Thorn

17 March 2020

False Oxlip, Primrose, Cowslips
Downs Link Cyclepath
Erringham Gap to the Cement Works

Adur Primula

There were no Lapwings on the exposed mudflats of the River Adur at Old Shoreham, just scores of mixed gulls.

2 March 2020

Flooded Field, Old Erringham

Under foot the mud squelched virtually everywhere with gulls attracted to the standing water on the low lying fields on each side of the Downs Link between Old Shoreham and the Cement Works. Coltsfoot was seen in flower for the first time this year in its usual place on the edge of the cyclepath south of the Cement Works.

5 February 2020

The best place to see thousands (hundreds of clumps) of Snowdrops was on the verges of the Coombes road to Botolphs where the first few flowers of Lesser Celandine were just appearing. Two clumps of Primroses graced the verges of the Downs Link north of Adur Flyover. Dandelions and White Deadnettle were noted flowering on the Downs Link verges near Botolphs. Oxford Ragwort flowered near Shoreham Railway Station. The Waxing Gibbous Moon could be seen in the east in the afternoon blue sky.

4 January 2020

Naturalised Winter Flowers
 Bergenia, Winter Heliotrope Petasites pyrenaicus
Adur Recreation Ground

Adur Recreation Ground (map) is land reclaimed in the early twentieth century from the River Adur estuary from mud flats called Scurvy Bank. This involved the deposition of soil from out of the local area to create a new mown grass habitat with the addition of planted trees and Poppy and other flower beds. In more recent years, more soil was introduced in the form of a long raised dyke on the eastern perimeter, and with this new soil came non local wild and naturalised plants from seed.

There were Arthur's Cakes and yellow bracket fungi on tree stumps on Adur Recreation Ground near the Adur Activities Centre.

Adur Butterfly List 2020

Adur Levels & Estuary 2019

Adur Nature Notes                            2020