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July 2008


Reports by Andy Horton from personal observation unless otherwise indicated
Clicking on the new thumbnail-style images will reveal a larger photograph

2008 Regional

Adur Levels
Chalk Downs
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Shoreham Town 
Adur Estuary
Lancing Nature


Chalkhill Blue (male)
Chalkhill Blue (female)

Chalkhill Blue Butterflies




30 July 2008
The Chalkhill Blues were slow to appear this year, as the count of a mere 81 (including two females) plus two male Adonis Blues on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, indicated. Another 15+ Chalkhill Blues were present over the south-west corner of the Mill Hill Cutting. A pristine new Small Blue settled on still flowering Kidney Vetch on Buckingham Cutting south. The small pyralid moth Synaphe punctalis was frequently seen in a small patch on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Sixteen species of butterfly were recorded without trying. 
Full Butterfly Report

28 July 2008
Even more spectacularly, the number of butterfly species seen on 27 July 2008 has to be increased by one to 22 species, as a second brood male Adonis Blue was identified on the lower slopes of Mill Hill and one was seen there yesterday as well. My visit was to look for the main emergence of Chalkhill Blues and make a count on the 1.2 acre transect of the lower slopes, which came to a very low 68 males. 
Full Butterfly Report

27 July 2008
On warm (21.5 °C) sunny day, an unprecedented 21 species of butterfly were seen (three more than the previous largest day tally in the last eight years of 18). Nineteen were seen in two hours in the morning on Mill Hill and its approaches. There were very frequent Large Whites (50+), Gatekeepers (75+), Meadow Browns (50+) and Chalkhill Blues (70), frequent Common Blues (18), occasional Small Skippers (6) and Speckled Woods (8), with just a few of most of the others like Brown Argus (2), Wall Brown (3), Holly Blue (4), Red Admiral (3), Small Heath (3), Brimstone (3), Small White (3), Comma (2), Peacock (2), and just the one confirmed each of Green-veined White, Small Blue and a Ringlet
In the afternoon I visited Anchor Bottom and added one Marbled White and a faded Small Tortoiseshell.
The first spectacular Volucella zonaria hoverfly of 2008 was seen amongst the scrub on Mill Hill. 
Full Butterfly Report

23 July 2008
Over 200 butterflies of 15 species were seen in about two hours on Mill Hill and the approaches with 37 Chalkhill Blues (including two females) seen mostly on the lower slopes. Another notable was the first two of the second brood Brown Argus Butterflies in amongst the long grass and herb meadow north of the upper car park. The Small White on Mill Hill was confirmed with a close-up look. 

Volucella inanis
Brown Argus

Gatekeepers led the count and Large Whites were close behind, both with over fifty seen, and Meadow Browns were not far behind. The only other species in double figures was the Peacock Butterfly. In the early evening I added a Comma Butterfly and a Green-veined White to make seventeen species for the day and the best day tally of the year
The first hoverfly Volucella inanis of the year was spotted in the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road. where the first berries of Hawthorn were noted. 
About 5:15 pm a large falcon flew low over the Coastal Link Cyclepath towards the River Adur and it looked very much like the falcon seen the day before
Tabular List
Adur Butterfly List 2008
Full Report

21 July 2008
Falco subuteoI was surprised and pleased to see a  Falcon* perched on a a fence past on the bridlepath from Slonk Hill Farm north to New Erringham. Originally, the bird was nearer Slonk Hill Farm, but after I disturbed it, it made a distinctive circular flight (which I have seen before) and in a succession of glides it ended up nearer New Erringham where Swallows and Goldfinches were frequently seen. 

*This is yet another one of those dreaded escaped large falcons, having what appears to be Peregrine and Lanner Falcon in its parentage (although I cannot completely rule out a North African Lanner). The patterning of its feathers suggest a juvenile.

Other birders recognise this bird as an immature Peregrine Falcon.
Comparison Image on flickr

A trip across the downs north of Shoreham yielded over 200 butterflies of 14 species, with special note of six Wall Browns at six different locations and the first two male Chalkhill Blues on the upper meadow of Mill Hill which was dominated by Peacock Butterflies. My journey took me from Slonk Hill Farm to Mossy Bottom where I saw my first Painted Lady of the year. 
Wall Butterfly at New ErringhamTabular List
Adur Butterfly List 2008
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

20 July 2008
On the downs pastures above Shoreham, the yellow of the Ragwort contrasted with the cloudy and azure sky, (although Erringham Hill had already been shorn). 
The first Common Darter (dragonfly) of the year was seen in the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham, resting on Common Bindweed.

Chalkhill Blue (female)
Butterflies are recorded as common (135+) for the first time this year of 14 species of which the most notable was the first second brood Common Blue Butterfly on the upper meadow of Mill Hill, three Wall Browns on Mill Hill and a Chalkhill Blue count of 17 (including one female) on an acre of the lower slopes. Gatekeepers had the highest count of 47. 
Tabular List
Adur Butterfly List 2008
Full Report & Photographs

15 July 2008
As so often happens when one butterfly species ceases (the Small Blues were not recorded) than fresh butterflies appear with a new brood. The new ones were the occasional Holly Blues in Shoreham town and the outskirts, one Wall Brown over the A27 dual carriageway north of the Dovecote Estate, and a Brimstone Butterfly on the the lower slopes of Mill Hill. The occasional Peacock Butterflies were fresh as well. 

Chalkhill Blue (male)
Chalkhill Blues were just beginning on Mill Hill with 24 strong flying males noted. The fifteen butterfly species recorded in an hour and a half was the most in a single day this year.
Full Butterfly Report

14 July 2008
About half a dozen Skylarks left the long grass at Anchor Bottom and took flight, a few of these birds singing as they rose. 

The first confirmed Six-spotted Burnet Moths were spotted on Greater Knapweed onthe south-facing Horseshoe Vetch slope of Anchor Bottom, Upper Beeding. Eleven butterfly species were seen in two hours, of which most of the time was spent cycling.
Adur Burnet Moths
Full Butterfly & Moth Report

Female Chalkhill Blue13 July 2008
The first female Chalkhill Blue Butterfly of the year was seen on the lower slopes of Mill Hill on a drab morning with ten other species of butterfly seen on a rather poor day. 
Full Butterfly Report

6-11 July 2008
Four days of continual gales and heavy rainfall prevented any visits to Mill Hill. On the fifth day the planned trip was interrupted by a heavy rain shower. On the sixth day I was blown about by a Force 6 and saw just two Chalkhill Blue Butterflies on the wind-swept lower slopes of Mill Hill. Stemless Thistle was observed in flower for the first time this year.
Adur Butterfly List 2008

Male Gatekeeper on the Slonk Hill Cutting south

                  Gatekeeper (male)

5 July 2008
The first two Chalkhill Blue Butterflies flew over the lower slopes of Mill Hill, late in the afternoon, whilst in a nearby (to the east of Mill Hill Nature Reserve) field two Horses grazed in a field of long grass and over a hundred Ragwort plants. It appeared that the two horse were grazing on the grass between these poisonous plants, but the yellow heads of Ragwort could be seen moving as the Horses grazed.
The first Small Purple-barred Moth Phytometra viridaria of 2008 was seen on Mill Hill, with a probable Ringlet from the scrub in the north-west of Mill Hill Nature Reserve which one be (if confirmed) the first from the Hill and the only one of the 32 species of butterflies seen in Shoreham that has not been recorded on the hill. Twelve species of butterflies were seen despite the unfavourable time of the day.
Full Butterfly Report

4 July 2008
My first definite Gatekeeper Butterfly of the year spent a long time fluttering around the Privet on the Coastal Link Cyclepath and it never did settle for a close look. Six other adult butterfly species were seen in the afternoon. 
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Full Butterfly Report

3 July 2008
Ten species of butterfly and skipper  were spotted in a short space of time including my first Small Skipper of the year on the Slonk Hill Cutting, and my first Silver Y Moth of 2008 whirred around the undergrowth on the Buckingham Cutting
Adur Butterfly List 2008

2 July 2008

Photograph by Doug Thompson

A Sparrowhawk flew into out Conservatory in Steyning and landed on the table. The hawk flew through an open normal sized exterior door, to try to take a Blackbird who fed regularly in the conservatory


1 July 2008
Red Foxes are so commonly seen around urban areas from Shoreham Beach to Southwick, they are not worth a mention any more. However, the commotion and calls from St Julian's Churchyard, Kingston Buci, was so dramatic as it seemed like one Fox was chasing prey in the bushes to the east of the church in the Shoreham College grounds whilst another Fox was barking and seen clearly from the Community Centre entrance opposite the church, and it looked like there was some sexual or/and aggressive action imminent, just before midnight

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    The Shoreham-by-Sea web site started on 1 January 1997.
    Webmaster: Andy Horton

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