Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex

July 2012

Overcast and cloudy (with rain) which occurred every day in the whole month of July 2012
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Link to the Adur 2012 Nature Notes pages

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Autumn 2004 
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Reports by Andy Horton from personal observation unless otherwise indicated
Clicking on the new thumbnail-style images will reveal a larger photograph

2012  Regional

An unusually verdant Mill Hill (upper)

Childing Pink
Chalkhill Blue

Adur Coastal & Marine
Adur Estuary & Levels
Mill Hill & the Downs
Urban Reports


10 August 2012

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

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


31 July 2012
At the expected peak period for the Chalkhill Blue Butterflies I felt obliged to check out Mill Hill although the conditions were far from ideal with overcast skies and a very irritating breeze (Force 5) and cool (> 18.6 °C). On Mill Hill the pattern of roosting butterflies emerged with almost having to step on any butterflies to get them to show. On the lower slopes one acre transect I counted 64 Chalkhill Blues which comprised 62 active males and one mating pair spotted in about 30 minutes. The actual numbers are likely to be higher, at least double and possible many more. There were a further 30 Chalkhill Blues seen in other places including at least 24 on Mill Hill Cutting

Six other species of butterfly were seen in unfavourable conditions including a splendid fresh Wall Brown on Mill Hill. 
Full Butterfly Report

As befitting the last day of summer, the budding Autumn Gentian was almost about to burst into flower as was Carline Thistle on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
30 July 2012
It was still breezy with a steady Force 5 throughout the day making conditions inimical to photography. One interesting picture was a family of a drake Mallard and her eight chicks in the drainage ditch on the northern border of the New Monks Farm spoil dumping area, east Lancing (west of the Withy Gap). The ditch has been recently constructed and filled with water after the recent rain. It has always been an area that flooded regularly in winter

29 July 2012
Too cool (17.5 °C ) for butterflies to be in flightand too breezy for flower photography, with black clouds that filled the sky over Mill Hill and to the north in the afternoon. I nevertheless ventured out to the outskirts of Old Shoreham where six species of butterfly fluttered around especially during a few minutes of sunshine. Most of these were Chalkhill Blues. I ate my first Blackberry of 2012 and a nearly ripe Cherry Plum
Full Butterfly & Moth Report

Chalkhill Blues27 July 2012
It was cool and humid (18.2 °C, compared to the last two warm days) and a visit to Mill Hill saw fresh Chalkhill Blues emerging. In the the transect acre 91 of the pale blue males appeared in 20 minutes on the verdant lower slopes. As it got warmer (20.1 °C) more appeared in flight estimated at 150 in the acre and I spotted my first brown female of the year. The vegetation was lusher and greener than normal and included frequent Round-headed Rampion, the dark blue flowers appearing above the low sward herbs. Ten butterfly species and three macro-moths were noted.
Full Butterfly & Moth Report
Mill Hill Report

25 July 2012 
Bats were seen flying over my south Lancing back garden at twilight. They were probably Pipistrelle Bats.

Report by Ray Hamblett

Dichetophora (Sciomyzidae) fly on the upper part of Mill Hill. It is most likely to be Dichetophora obliterata (female).

ID on byMucha Fero and Jonas

Dichetophora obliterata: an attractive fly and widespread species known as a snail-killing fly. The larvae are predatory on snails. 

23 July 2012
Under a blue sky, the sun bathed Mill Hill in light (>19.3 °C), and I found myself on an overgrown part of the southern part of Mill Hill Nature Reserve which was covered in Stinging Nettles and not normally an area that I visit. A Southern Hawker (dragonfly) flew past (first of the year). A path had been worn and by the path a clump of Marjoram was beginning to flower. I stopped for a photograph and if I hadn't I would probably missed three visiting Small Skippers*, my first of the year. Seven species of butterfly were recorded including 46 male Chalkhill Blues. (*These could be Essex Skippers?)
Butterfly and Moth List 2012
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Mill Hill Report

23 July 2012
There were frequent double flowers of the small Childing Pink, Petrorhagia nanteuilii, on Silver Sands on Shoreham Beach. This population of this scarce protected plant was thriving in numbers unprecedented this century. 

Chalkhill Blue22 July 2012
At least the clouds have dispersed and the sun shines and the butterflies appeared as it warmed up in the early afternoon to a below average 17.8 °C. On the lower slopes of Mill Hill the fresh male Chalkhill Blues appeared from the verdant ground vegetation with 45 counted in the one acre transect.  This is a week before the peak emergence is due. Some had darker than normal upper wing borders and their favoured nectar flowers were Bird's Foot Trefoil and Self-heal. The second most prevalent butterfly were the frequent Meadow Browns of the eight species seen in just over an hour. The melody of the Linnet was heard from the plateau north of the Reservoir. 
Butterfly & Moth Report

21 July 2012
A Weasel gambolled over the cyclepath and into the meadow-like verges south of the Cement Works, with its peculiar undulating gait. Dark clouds to the north made the full tide on the River Adur appear dark. 

6-spotted Burnet Moth

Butterflies were occasionally seen and most were not in active flight: Meadow Browns occasionally fluttered around, there was one Marbled White and one Gatekeeper, Green-veined Whites and Large Whites. New flowers noted included Tufted Vetch, Teasel, and Fleabane. My first 6-spotted Burnet Moth of the year was seen on some of the flowering Marjoram

Round-headed Rampion20 July 2012
No sun equals no butterflies, but a visit to a verdant Mill Hill under a cloudy sky and I managed to disturb two male Chalkhill Blues for my first time this year. Two new Round-headed Rampion flowers were noted on the lower slopes as well, both of them close to the winding path. 
Butterfly Report

16 July 2012
I visited Mill Hill. As soon as I dropped onto the lower slopes I saw my first Chalkhill Blue of the year. This was followed by another ten plus a magnificent Peacock, Meadow Browns, Small Heath, Gatekeepers, Green-veined and Large Whites

Adur Butterflies: First Dates

15 July 2012

Walking from Splash Point to under Worthing Pier we saw many clumps of Cuttlefish eggs, Sepia officinalis, loads with fry inside. Then we spotted some baby Cuttlefish on the sand out of the eggs, we picked some up and put them in water pools. The surf was too strong and we know they would simply wash up again. We hope they will survive, one baby even squirted ink and was only as big as my thumb nail. Cuttlefish Culture (Bob Alexander)

Swallow-tailed Moth
Swallow-tailed Moth
Cinnabar Moth caterpillars

A Swallow-tailed Moth, Ourapteryx sambucaria, dropped out of the hedge bordering a twitten in residential Shoreham. Mill Hill was damp and in cool overcast conditions there were only half a dozen species of butterfly amongst the verdant herbs. About twenty Cinnabar Moth caterpillars were seen on just two budding Ragwort plants near the top of the steps at the southern end of Mill Hill. 
Butterfly & Moth Report
Adur Moths

Self-heal13 July 2012
Another unseasonably cool and overcast day. Despite being not warm enough (>16.2 °C) for butterflies, I made a brief trek to the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Conditions were worse than expected, with a Moderate Breeze Force 5, gusting to Force 7, blowing from the south-west straight on to the exposed slopes. And rain was in the air. I did manage to disturb my first Gatekeeper of the year as well as a single Meadow Brown. Diminutive Self-heal flowers were particularly common on the lower slopes this year. The first purple flowers of the prickly Stemless Thistle appeared between the other vegetation on the short sward of the lower slopes of Mill Hill. 
Adur Butterfly and Moth List 2012
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

12 July 2012
The rain held off under an overcast sky. I made a brief detour to the southern bank of the Slonk Hill Cutting, where immediately the first of a few Marbled White Butterflies fluttered around the fading Common Spotted Orchids

Marbled White

Then the first of a few Meadow Browns appeared, but it was a few minutes before I saw my first Ringlet Butterflies of the year. Over dozen of these butterflies flew languidly amongst the orchids in the meadow-like embankment; the longer I stayed the more that appeared.
Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

5 July 2012

Leafcutter Bee

A Leafcutter Bee carefully selected Rose leaves and then cut them up and carried them away in Ray Hamblett's south Lancing garden. The whole process of cutting took about ten seconds.

Cutting Process Observation by Ray Hamblett
Adur Bees
Leafcutter Bee Facts (Wildlife Trusts)

4 July 2012
I visited Mill Hill in the afternoon on what turned out to be uncomfortable humid conditions and slippery under foot. I did manage to spot my first four Marble White Butterflies of the year as well as eight Small Heath Butterflies, a few Silver Y Moths and one faded pyralid micro-moth Pyrausta pupuralis on half of the lower slopes transect only.
Adur Butterfly & Moth List

1 July 2012
In the blustery conditions (Force 6 gusting to Force 7) I spotted my first Large Skipper of the year on the verges of the Downs-Coastal Link Cyclepath near the Cement Works end. At the same time there was a Small Heath Moth spotted resting briefly on a grass. Male Meadow Browns were frequent and restless, The males are the darker ones with just a hint of orange on the upper wings. Red Admirals occasionally seen on the path where the first flowers of Buddleia were swaying constantly in the wind. Pyramidal Orchids were now flowering. 
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Butterfly Report

July 2011 Reports

Adur Nature Notes 2011


Butterfly List 2012
Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea
Shoreham and District Ornithological Society
Lancing Village

Shoreham Weather 2012

MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and Downs

Urban Wildlife Webring


Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2011 web pagesLink to the Adur 2010 Nature Notes pages
Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2009 web pagesLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2008 web pagesLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2007 web pages

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2006 web pagesLink to Adur Nature Notes 2005  Index pageLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2004 Index page
Link to Adur Valley Nature Notes 2003Latest Nature Notes and Index page 2002



Mill Hill, north of Shoreham


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

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