Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex

July 2017

Chalkhill Blue
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Reports by Andy Horton from personal observation unless otherwise indicated
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2017  Regional

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


31 July 2017

Small Tortoiseshell, Gatekeeper, Chalkhill Blues, Meadow Brown
Wall Brown, Red Admiral, Adonis Blue, Painted Lady

A large cloud blocked out the sun and sent a large shadow over the lower slopes of Mill Hill. This tends to send the butterflies into hiding and then they were only seen if actively disturbed. This gives disappointing numbers of butterflies at the peak time for numbers in the whole of the year. I battled though the Privet on the lower slopes and I only recorded 53 male Chalkhill Blues plus one mating female on a 90% coverage of my transect acre. I was surprised to record my first eleven second brood male Adonis Blues. A Wall Brown visited a Dwarf Thistle. If the numbers were disappointing the variety with 18 butterfly species was good.
Illustrated Butterfly Report

30 July 2017

Dunlin at Widewater
Photograph by Yvonne McKeown

I climbed over the prostrate chestnut fencing to make my way to the Mill Hill Cutting (SW) where I spotted my first female Chalkhill Blue of the year amongst about a dozen males and a Silver Y Moth. Most impressively a huge Emperor Dragonfly patrolled the shady Downs Link Path (by the Cement Works) incessantly. 
Illustrated Butterfly Report

25 July 2017

Chalkhill Blue

On a cloudy day I visited the lower slopes of Mill Hill where I fought my way through the invasive Privet to complete a 90% transect  registering a count of 21 male Chalkhill Blues and if I was to include the southern part of the top of the hill they were exceeded by both Common Blues and Meadow Browns, and these were exceeded by 6-spotted Burnet Moths
Mill Hill Report

23 July 2017
Over the north slope of Anchor Bottom, a Buzzard flapped one wing and steadied itself mid-flight, before going into a prolonged high speed glide, which may be a predatory attack, but the bird of prey disappeared from sight behind a bush. There were frequent butterflies on a cloudy day with rain in the air, with Meadow Browns and Common Blues both frequently spotted on a trek over the south north facing slope to the central now dead Elder trees, and adjacent south-facing slope. One male Chalkhill Blue was seen.

Wild Thyme, Chalkhill Blue, Greater Knapweed, Small Scabious 
Dwarf Thistle, Red Star Thistle, Pineapple Weed 
Anchor Bottom

Wild flowers were most notable with Common Ragwort, Small Scabious and Dwarf Thistle very commonly seen with well over a few hundred plants each, and very frequent Wild Thyme especially on the numerous ant's nest mounds, and  even a few remnants of Kidney Vetch. Near the gate at the bottom there were slightly anomalous presence of a clump each of Red Star Thistle (a Knapweed) and the first ever wild record on these web pages of the Pineapple Weed, Matricaria discoidea
Butterfly Report

17 July 2017
Butterflies were fluttering all over Mill Hill with sixteen of the expected species. Common Blues (100+)  were all over the top of the hill where I spotted a Brown Argus almost immediately. Chalkhill Blues (55+) were widespread with most over the lower slopes where I was pleased to see my first Clouded Yellow of the year. 
Butterfly List of the Day

 Mint Moth, Brown Argus
Chrysotoxum festivum Hoverfly, Chalkhill Blue
Mill Hill

On the upper plateau of Mill Hill I recorded my first Round-headed Rampion flower of the year. This flower is easily overlooked. Not so the Musk Thistle where I made a quick search and found my first of this flower of the year when most of the plants had already gone to seed. My first Ploughman's Spikenard was also spotted on the ridge rather than the lower slopes. 
Mill Hill Report

14 July 2017

White Melilot, Wild Fennel, Yarrow
Radish, Small Skipper
Shoreham Harbour (northern canal bank at Fishersgate)

White Melilot, Wild Fennel and Radish were seen in flower for the first time this year on the harbour canal bank at Fishersgate. They had been flowering for several weeks. It was cloudy but fine, but not warm enough for many butterflies to be active, but I did spot a Small Skipper visiting a Spear Thistle and a Large White fluttering around a patch of Greater Willowherb. When I returned home a tatty Peacock Butterfly flew in through the open front door. 
Wild Flower Images of the Day

10 July 2017

Chalkhill Blue

Scores of butterflies fluttered around on Mill Hill including my first dozen or so of the first male Chalkhill Blues of the year over the lower slopes. On a warm sunny afternoon, all the thirteen species of butterflies were extremely lively especially over the large patch of Wild Basil.  I also spotted two Painted Ladies for the first time in 2017
Butterfly Full List

6 July 2017
Seven Swifts fly to and fro over the morning blue skies at Steyning. Nine butterfly species were seen including my first of the year Silver-washed Fritillary at Tottington Wood, near Small Dole.
A Brown Hawker (dragonfly) flew to and fro over the big pond at Woods Mill where it sparred with an Emperor Dragonfly. Marsh Woundwort was recorded at Woods Mill and Enchanters Nightshade at Tottington Wood.
Adur Butterfly List 2017
Adur Levels Report
Day Wild Flower Images 

2 July 2017 

Dwarf Mallow, Small Skipper, Meadowsweet, Marbled White on Hardhead
Adur Levels

Pride of the day was a spectacular Emperor Dragonfly, Anax imperator, that patrolled over a confluence in the Meadowsweet-lined Annington Sewer near the A283 Steyning by-pass bridge over the tidal River Adur. The Emperor chased away a male Broad-bodied Chaser, Libellula depressa, (dragonfly), which appeared very much smaller. At the height of summer, the sun shined in the middle of the day and the butterflies were very frequently seen on the verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the fields south of Bramber. A tally of eleven different butterfly species and one macro moth were noted, Meadow Browns the most frequently seen and near Annington Sewer, a Comma and a Peacock near Ladywells giving a tally of eleven different butterfly species and one macro moth.
Adur Butterfly List 2017
Adur Teasels

1 July 2017
Going into the last month of summer, the verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath changed in character as the late summer flowers put on a burst of growth and the verges became dominated by Buddleia bushes, Meliliot, Lady's Bedstraw, the two Knapweeds, (Greater & Hardheads), with significant appearances of Common Hogweed, Willowherbs (Rosebay and Greater),  and the continuing Ox-eyed Daisies. Pyramidal Orchids were still flowering  but they were swamped and hidden by the taller vegetation. With the summer flowers came my first Gatekeeper Butterfly of the year visiting Melilot. Teasels were growing up to over a metre high showing the capitulum (pseudanthium or flower head) but not yet the purple flowers.

Pyramidal Orchids, Common Centaury, Viper's Bugloss, Lady's Bedstraw with Pyramidal Orchids
Bellflower, Gatekeeper, Yellow Rattle
Downs Link Cyclepath: Old Shoreham - Cement Works

Under a cloudy afternoon sky, on the cyclepath from Old Shoreham to just south of the Cement Works, there was only occasional butterflies, a few Large Whites, a few Meadow Browns including at least one fresh specimen, and a languid fluttering brown butterfly was identified as a faded Ringlet. Cinnabar Moth caterpillars crawled over the budding Common Ragwort.
Wild Flower Report

July 2016 Reports

Adur Butterfly List 2017
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea
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