Adur Marine Life Reports
Coastal & Intertidal     2012
Reports from the sea, shore and coast, including Widewater Lagoon


Coastal saline lagoons and the Water Framework Directive (NECR039)

A number of coastal saline lagoons in the UK have been identified as ‘water bodies’ under the Water Framework Directive. This means that there is a requirement to develop type-based classification tools to help assess their ecological status. This study was commissioned by Natural England to inform future work of the UK Technical Advisory Group and Marine Task Team in developing a national consistent approach to the assessment of lagoons under the Water Framework Directive.

Web Page (pdf)

Link to information about World of Widewater (Community Friends Group)
Friends of Shoreham Beach
World of Widewater
(Community Group)
Friends of Shoreham Beach
(Community Group)



Reports 2013

30 December 2012

Common Dolphin, Delphinus delphis, in Shoreham Harbour
Photograph by Simone Mia Smith
BMLSS Cetaceans

A Bottle-nosed Dolphin was spotted in the mouth of Shoreham Harbour.
Report by Phil Dunk on the Sussex Ornithological Society News

17 December 2012



22 November 2012
On a breezy day (Force 5 - 6 gusting to Gale Force 7 - 8) it was enough to send hundreds of gulls wheeling in the air over the coast. On east Lancing beach (by Widewater) there was Turnstones well camouflaged on the shingle and weed strandline, with the tide on a low neap in the afternoon.
7 November 2012
On Widewater Lagoon a handful of Little Grebes dived under the calm waters and at least one surfaced with a silvery fish its beak. The fish seemed too large to be a 3-spined Stickleback but it was the same shape. The five birds appeared to be juveniles. 

There was also a single Coot which was not usual.  On Lancing Beach Green a Wheatear perched on a wooden fence between the green and the shingle, prior to emigration. Pied Wagtails trotted along the strandline

25 October 2012
A beautifully marked first winter male Desert Wheatear delighted birders at Worthing Splash Point (east of Worthing Pier). Virtually tame, it was flitting around the rocks and actively feeding - and not at all bothered by people or cameras. The little beauty was confident enough to make eye contact with his many fans.

The Desert Wheatear, Oenanthe deserti, is a very rare visitor to Britain. If an Eastern race bird does land here, it has been blown off course quite a bit as it would have been on its way from its breeding grounds in central Asia to its wintering grounds in Pakistan and north-east Africa.

Report and Images by Sandra Palme
Sussex Ornithological Society First Report

18 October 2012
A flock of about 20 Turnstones were seen feeding high up on the strandline where the seaweed had been deposited very high tide up on the shore, and some of it over the concrete protecting the beach huts by Widewater. These wading birds avoided the spray from the waves blown in by the southerly wind.
The Widewater gauge registered 1.76 metres, the highest I have ever recorded by 10 cm, after the high tides and storm surge.

20 September 2012
Widewater Lagoon was in flood on a high spring tide on an overcast day, bordered in places by the dark red Glasswort. Suddenly, a largish wader descended and began wading in the shallow fringes of the lagoon, poking its beak in the soft mud rapidly (about twenty times a minute?) and repeatedly for a period of ten minutes or more without a break. Its long beak was pink but half black nearest the tip. The bird was clear through the binoculars but I could not see what it was eating. At a guess it would be small amphipods or perhaps small molluscs or worms. I had seen this bird before on the River Adur mud but not very often. I have identified it as one of the Godwits which I had not seen before on Widewater. It was an interesting bird to watch its almost frantic feeding (or searching for food) which I had not seen with such intensity before. Three birders identified it as a Black-tailed Godwit. I and one other thought it was a Bar-tailed Godwit.
TQ 19913 04150 (Grid Reference Finder)



19 September 2012

Tree Mallow

WidewaterWall Lizard

4 September 2012
A Little Egret perched on a Tamarisk shrub on the margins of Widewater.

31 August 2012
Large White Butterflies flew around the Sea Kale by the Old Fort at the eastern end of Shoreham Beach. But I was there to try an get a photograph of a Wall Lizard after my sucess with a Common Lizard the previous day. Nineteen Wall Lizards were spotted on the  south and west facing carnot flint walls of the Old Fort, skittering into holes in the wall at the earliest opportunity, with none of them keeping still in the open and basking in the sun. At least half of them were adults with a distinct green colouration, but one was a small brown coloured juvenile on the pebbles. Field Grasshoppers were lively in the grasses around the Old Fort.
Adur Lizards

10 August 2012

Rockpooling Event at the Old Fort organised by the Friends of Shoreham Beach (FOSB)

Young PlaiceOver 150 rockpoolers descended down on  to the safe beach at Old Fort, Shoreham Beach at low tide and they were able to forage in the pools for over two hours. The critters of the seashore never had a chance to escape the flimsy nets and probing fingers of the youngsters. Fish fry swam in the shallow pools, notably scores of the young of the Two-spotted Goby, Gobiusculus flavescens. Many of the captures were decamped to temporary aquariums further of the beach and returned to the pools before the incoming tide. Other notable captures included a juvenile Greater Pipefish, Syngnathus acus, looking like a thin strip of seaweed until it wriggled, juvenile flatfish including two small Plaice, Pleuronectes platessa, with more escaping the nets, the first intertidal Sand Sole, Pegusa lascaris, and the expected mixture of Bass fry, Dicentrarchus labrax, small prawns and shrimps, tiny Bullheads, Taurulus bubalis, Shore Crabs, Carcinus maenas, of all sizes and colours and the common intertidal molluscs.

FOSB Events (click on the logo for full details)
BMLSS Rockpooling
BMLSS Gobies

30 July 2012

Hare's Foot CloverThe Cormorants that rest on the Widewater Lagoon islands were fishing in the sea in shallow water at high tide in the morning. Later, after midday, a Little Egret was spotted fishing in the small flooded area cut off from the main lagoon at the western end. Initially, this seems an unpromising feeding area.

24 July 2012
On the warmest day of the year so far Large Whites and one Red Admiral coming off the sea were seen on Lancing Beach with a handful of Meadow Browns.  Although very warm there were no Wall Lizards to be seen on the carnot walls of the Old Fort.

23 July 2012
There were frequent double flowers of the small Childing Pink, Petrorhagia nanteuilii, on Silver Sands on Shoreham Beach. One treble flower was discovered. Hare's-foot Clover (illustrated on the left)was widespread in the same area.

5 July 2012

 Silver Ragwort
 Viper's Bugloss
Rough Clover 
Cerastium tomentosum 

26 June 2012
A Little Egret was feeding in the shallows as the tidecame in by Silver Sands on the River Adur estuary. Eventually the breeze died down sufficiently so it was worth checking out the population of Childing Pink, Petrorhagia nanteuilii, on Silver Sands on Shoreham Beach.

Childing Pink

There were well a hundred single flowers showing and I eventually discovered just a single double flower with scores of the second flowers budding. This population of this scarce protected plant was thriving in numbers unprecedented this century. Other prevalent flowers in the area included Kidney Vetch, Biting Stonecrop and Hare's-foot Clover.

9 June 2012

Adur World Oceans Day 2012
Understanding and celebrating our marine environment

The twelfth Adur World Oceans Day 2012 took place in the marquee on Coronation Green, by Shoreham Footbridge at the High Street end on the second Saturday of the Adur Festival. Len Nevell of the British Marine Life Study Society presented the usual exhibition of lobsters and crabs. The Friends of Shoreham Beach (FOSB) took an active role with their display of the wonders of Shoreham Beach. Wildlife writer Steve Savage presented the whale and dolphin exhibition with the life sized replica of a Bottle-nosed Dolphin.

World Oceans Day on Facebook
United Nations: World Oceans Day

"The aim of the event is to introduce the young visitors to the world of the sea and seashore, an opportunity they may not get .It is an educational event with an opportunity for children to participate in the interactive activities."
Quote by Andy Horton (British Marine Life Study Society)

Click on the image for more photographs of
Adur World Oceans Day 2012

Adur World Oceans Day Blogspot 2011 et seq.

 Long-clawed Porcelain Crab
Long-legged Spider Crab
Common Brittlestar
 Common Starfish
from Southwick Beach
Snakelocks Anemone

Specimen at Adur World Oceans Day 2012

4 kg Lobster, Homarus gammarus

Waves from the south-west battering the Shoreham Harbourwall
Photograph by Alec Trusler

8 June 2012
White caps appeared on the waves driven diagonally across the River Adur from the WSW in a constant Gale Force 7, gusting to Storm Force 10, constantly throughout the day without remission. 
Shoreham Weather News Reports

7 June 2012
A brief early morning trip to collect some Beadlet Anemones Actinia equina, from the syeniterock defences at Southwick Beach was rewarded by two medium-sized Common Starfish Asterias rubens, which will prove ideal for the Adur World Oceans Day 2012. There was a small Common Starfish as well.

 Limpets and Mussels
Beadlet Anemones
 Beadlet Anemone
Common Starfish

Thousands of small mussels had attached themselves to the huge boulders that form the sea defences. The littoral community also included limpets, winkles and the predatory Dogwhelk.
The rolling waves over the sandy flats would have made shrimping very wet but not impossible.

4 June 2012
A rockpooling visit to Worthing Pier on a low (0.4 metres) spring tide produced a surprise Common Brittlestar, Ophiothrix fragilis, as well as some infrequent summer occurences like two large Velvet Swimming Crabs, Necora puber, a handful of small Common Hermit Crabs, Pagurus bernhardus, in winkle shells, a single Common Starfish Asterias rubens, one Dahlia Anemone, Urticina felina, one small Long-legged Spider Crab Macropodia rostrata, and one sub-adult 5-Bearded Rockling, Ciliata mustela.

Velvet Swimming Crab

Yellow-horned Poppy
Long-clawed Porcelain Crab
Common Brittlestar
Bucket of Critters from Worthing Beach

A Greater Pipefish, Syngnathus acus, was rescued from the beak of a Herring Gull. Daisy Anemones, Cereus pedunculatus, were frequently found in chocolate brown hues. Snakelocks Anemones, Anemonia viridis, were common as usual with frequent Beadlet Anemones Actinia equina.
Full Rockpooling Report
Brittlestars of Cornwall

3 June 2012
A steady Fresh Breeze (Force 5) was not conducive to the Shoreham Beach Wild Flower Photography Walk, organised by the Friends of Shoreham Beach (FoSB). At least the rain that was promised by the weather forecast the previous week was not present on the windy coast, but conditions were still very difficult for photography.

 Tree Mallow
Viper's Bugloss
 Sea Thrift
Red Valerian

Swathes of Red Valerian in flower dominated the shingle on east Shoreham Beach with the contrasting leaves of Silver Ragwort which was beginning to bud, and the patches of Sea Kale which were showing their first flowers. Starry Clover, Trifolium stellatum, was flowering on the grass and herb banks of the Old Fort and on the shingle. Other flowers noted for the first time this year were Mouse-eared Hawkweed, and unidentified Hawkweed on the same herb strewn bank.

Wall Lizard
 Red Valerian
Viper's Bugloss

Yellow-horned Poppy flowers were blown silly in the wind and these were noted for the first time on the shingle this year as well. Other prominent wild flora were the woody stems of Tree Mallow swaying wildly in the breeze, Slender Thistle (sometimes called Shore Thistle) and the slender Viper's Bugloss on the grassy banks and shingle, with patches of Sea Thrift, Kidney Vetch, Sea Campion and Bird's Foot Trefoil, on the shingle. Two Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, skittered by the Old Fort, one over the shingle making for the safety of the wall and another large greenish one in the long grass near the west facing flint carnot wall.

2 June 2012
A quick Adur World Oceans Day 2012 collection visit to Kingston Beach on a 0.8 metre low tide brought one notable discovery of a a Worm Pipefish, Nerophis lumbriciformis, under a rock. There was also a fine first year Corkwing Wrasse, Symphodus melops .
Full Rockpooling Report
BMLSS Worm Pipefish

28 May 2012
A special shrimping trip Lancing Beach (by Widewater) (with Dudley and others) in ideal weather conditions (1.5 metre neap low tide) caught three pints of Brown Shrimps, Crangon crangon,between us, but there was not much else in the nets: frequent flatfish fry, two small Lesser Weever, Echiichthys vipera, one swimming crab Portumnus latipes with "fleur-de lis" markings, one Vernal Crab, Liocarcinus vernalis, one badly damaged (but still alive, it nipped me) Masked Crab, Corystes cassivelaunus, a few large green Shore Crabs, Carcinus maenas, and a small Plaice, Pleuronectes platessa, (or possibly a Flounder?).

24 May 2012
I went to test out my waders but the tide was not low enough (2 metres at 6:30 pm) at Lancing (by Widewater bridge) and there was a big swell on a seemingly calm sea. There were few Brown Shrimps but not enough to persist in getting soaked on a warm evening. On the shingle of Shoreham Beach and by the Church of the Good Shepherd there were great swathes of Red Valerian in flower. Of greater interest, further east, the large patch of Kidney Vetch was notable because this plant was not yet flowering on ther road verges of Buckingham Cutting (south) where it is prevalent and flowers later.


7 May 2012
A short trip to Kingston Beach on a cool evening low spring tide produced a sparse mobile fauna including two small Common Starfish Asterias rubens on the underside of the larger boulders with a chiton Acanthochitona crinita and a Sting Winkle Ocenebra erinacea as noteworthy discoveries. Juvenile (first year) Blennies, Lipophrys pholis, were frequently found under boulders on the estuarine (west of the Lifeboat Station) part of the beach.
BMLSS Rockpooling
BMLSS Rock Pool Fish
BMLSS Molluscs

6 May 2012

 Crow with Mussel
 Common Starfish
Hairy Crab

The low equinoctial tide at Lancing receded as far as had seen it uncovering rocks that are rarely seen. It was early in the year and the intertidal fauna was exiguous: two Snakelocks Anemones, Anemonia viridis, frequent Hairy Crabs, Pilumnus hirtellus, one Short-legged Spider Crab Eurynome aspera, and one 5-Bearded Rockling, Ciliata mustela, were notable (and the first wild sea anemones, crabs and fish I had noted this year.)
Over thirty Herring Gulls fossicked amongst the rocks but it was only one Crow that tried to drop shells to break them open (without success). Three Sanderlings pattered over the sand and rock fringes. Hoary Cress was flowering profusely next to the cyclepath and there were swathers of Thrift on the Widewater flood plain.
British Marine Life Study Society

Slender Thistle4 May 2012
Wild flowers on the shingle and earthen banks at the Old Fort end of Shoreham Beach included Tree Mallow, Sea Thrift, Common Vetch, Ragwort and Field Mouse-ear; and beginning to flower were Sea Kale, Red Valerian and Slender Thistle. The Slender Thistle is also known as the Shore Thistle. This alternative name was a recent discovery on the Wikipedia page for Carduus tenuiflorus. There was also Irisesgrowing wild on the shingle.
Adur Thistles

22 March 2012
Stalking in the shallows of Widewater Lagoon, a Little Egret caught a fish much larger than its usual diet of sticklebacks. It had reposition the fish in its beak before swallowing its prey with a distinctive bulge in its long neck as it went down. The Teals were still present and the flock had separated off into two pairs.

29 February 2012
Around midday the sun shone weakly under a blue sky, but the warmth was enough for the first reptiles of the year to come out. On the south and west facing carnot wall of the Old Fort (on Shoreham Beach) I noted at least 16* separate Wall Lizards, Podarcis muralis, energetically skittered over the flint cobbled wall and into holes and crannies. All but one had intact tails and virtually all of them were large adults, but only the largest had a distinctive greenish tinge. (* duplicates excluded). Two Turnstones, with bright red feet, clambered over the seaweed-covered timber inner harbour wall on the western side.
Adur Lizards

Widewater Lagoon
Wall Lizard

On Widewater Lagoon a paddling* of ten Teals were seen swimming on the still lagoon, and distinctively upturning themselves to feed. A pair of the larger Mallards landed on the water nearby. One of the three Little Egrets was feeding in the shallows: it was seen swallowing half a dozen 3-spined Sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus, in four minutes, with only two failed attempts. The Snow Buntings were not spotted. (*Collective noun ? paddling in a V formation of three at times. I think instead of a raft of Tufted Ducks (12 together) (used a few days before) I could use a flotilla of ducks and raft of Teals.)

23 February 2012
On the still waters of Widewater Lagoon, a raft of exactly a dozen Tufted Ducks rested, only swimming more to the centre of the eastern end of the lagoon when approached.

Snow Bunting
Tufted Ducks

The two visiting Snow Buntings  were not so reticent feeding on the flat beach shingle in the same area as before just above the sea high tide mark at the western end of Widewater.

12 February 2012
A Slavonian Grebe, Podiceps auritus, was spotted off Lancing beach (just west of Widewater) in the early afternoon, close in to shore but swimming briskly east.

Report by Sam Lambert on Sussex Ornithological Society News

26 January 2012
Four visiting Brent Geese looked at home at the western end of Widewater Lagoon on the water and trotting out on to the shingle with four Mute Swans.

10 January 2012
The two small Snow Buntings, Plectrophenax nivalis, were well camouflaged amongst the pebbles, feeding on seed provided for them and attracting a handful of birdwatchers with telephoto lens. Because they look like Sparrows with the naked eye, they would have been hard to discover if they did not stay on the same stretch of beach south of the western end of Widewater, despite disturbance by dog walkers. Snow Buntings are a very scarce winter visitor and passage migrant to the Shoreham area. 

6 January 2012
An Iceland Gull was photographed on Shoreham Beach, on the seaward side of the west arm of the harbour from late morning to 1.15 pm. The Iceland Gull is a very scarce winter visitor and passage migrant to the Shoreham area.

Report and Photograph by Russ Tofts on Sussex Ornithological Society News

4 January 2012
The Iceland Gull was seen by other birdwatchers on several occasions. Earlier it was photographed over the River Adur.
Native Sussex (Mick Davis) Birding Blog

2 January 2012
On east Lancing Beach (by Widewater), I finally managed to get a look at the small Snow Buntings camouflaged amongst the pebbles, the sparrow-sized fawn and cream birds crouching down and one of the two hiding behind a cobble-sized stone only slightly smaller than it. As I searched for the Snow Buntings, I nearly gave up after just spotting Pied Wagtails amongst the shingle. The first wild flowers of the year were some Red Valerian on the beach fringes near the Church of the Good Shepherd.

Reports on Sussex Ornithological Society News

Coastal Reports 2011

Adur Weather 2012

Adur World Oceans Day 2011

Old Fort Plants

Marine Life Reports 2010

Widewater Page

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2011 web pagesLink to the Adur 2012 Nature Notes pages

World of Widewater
(Community Group)