by Keith Wilson
was still as a mill pond, but hosted no birds of special interest under
a clear blue sky. A Redshank
waded in the shallows of the lagoon and probed in the mud. The family group
of eight Mute Swans
were all asleep in a small grassy back garden. A British
Rock Pipit, Anthus
petrosus petrosus, scrambled amongst the
minimal beach vegetation in mid-afternoon above the high tide
mark on the shingle. Similiarly, there was very little activity on the
mudflats at low tide by the Toll Bridge
at Old Shoreham. A hundred mixed gulls
and a couple of Little Egrets
making cursory attempts at fishing was the best on offer.
the small patch of open water by New Salts Farm (within the Shoreham boundary)
a Little Grebe
dived under accompanied by a Moorhen,
and a pair of Mallards.
by Paul Loader
the reed beds, a Kestrel
hovered and descended in the hunt several times without success. At Civil
Twilight his performance excelled that
of a Short-eared Owl
that spent half an hour perched in a distant reed bed with an occasional
preen, before flying away and out of view as dusk (Nautical
Twilight) set in and the temperature plummeted
went searching up the River
Adur for any signs of the Seal.
towpath was very muddy and it was hard going by pedal bike. And there were
no signs of any wild mammals, except for a few Mole
managed to spot my first fish in the wild this year with a Rudd
in a fast flowing drainage ditch in a field off the closed cyclepath from
Old Shoreham to the Cement Works. The fish saw me first and the flick of
his tail fin drew my attention as it quickly swam out of sight.
a clear day, there was little movement on the river on a low neap tide,
but I did spot a pair of Little Grebes
swimming together on the water. In Botolphs
churchyard, Greater Periwinkles
(from last year), Primroses,
one Lesser Celandine
were flowering. Many Robins
could be seen amongst the bare thorns and hedgerows, at about one a minute
at times along the Coombes Road return journey.
for the new Rampion electricity project
crossing the valley near Botolphs was a clear operation on the landscape,
carving a track out of the downs on each side of the river for the cable
Owl was seen and photographed
near Shoreham Airport.
cycled up past Mill Hill into a north wind
on my newly acquried bike, with a wind chill
just below zero. On the highest part of the
local downs east of the disused Cement Works over a hundred and fifty Rooks
flocked on a bare field, whilst on the other side of the country road,
the land was being excavated for cables as part of the Rampion
Wind Farm scheme.
flooding to the north in the low lying fields around Henfield could seen
from the muddy footpath north of and downhill from Beeding Hill car park.
was little of interest, but I noted blatant evidence of damaging cattle
poaching on the short turf top plateau of Mill Hill. The were large mounds
of soil dug up by Moles
by the upper car park. In Lancing, Mayweed
and White Deadnettle
were still in flower on the road verge
south of the Sussex Pad.
by Paul Loader
a Common Seal
in the River Adur
first wild mammal of the year a was a Red
Fox casually trotting along Middle Road,
Shoreham, in darkness mid- evening.
a much brighter afternoon than two days previously, the sea was still calm
as it gently lapped against the glimpses of exposed sand and finer gravel
at the mid-tide mark. Brown
strewn across the pebbles marked the limit of the high tide. On the distant
downs the clouds were dark, but over Adur Recreation Gound the late sun
filtered through a break in the clouds casting golden light on a naked
Poplar amongst the evergreen trees.
was like a millpond, still and clear giving reflections despite the rapidly
fading light under a cloudy sky in the later afternoon. There were ducks
on the lagoon but the darkness set in so early that even through the binoculars
I could not discern their markings. From the behaviour I surmised they
ducking their heads under and rumps upward.
were in flower in several clumps on
the verge at the bottom (south) verges of Parkside
(near Buckingham Park), north Shoreham. As these were likely to be semi-wild,
a better claim to the first wild flowers of 2016
could be the closed remnants of Nipplewort
from the cracks in the tarmac in the twitten
Square and Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham, although these would have late
flowers from 2015.
the four adult little gulls off shore at Widewater
in the morning I returned this afternoon and in better viewing conditions
saw again four adult Little Gulls,
now foraging in the rolling breakers among countless Black-headed
behind a beach hut by Widewater I saw four adult Little
Gulls including three together along the
shoreline at 09:52
and a Great Skua
all flying west.
usual the first bird of the year was an adult Herring
Gull gliding over Corbyn Crescent in the
Beach Weather Station
Nature Notes 2013