Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex

May 2010

Horseshoe Vetch on Mill Hill
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Reports by Andy Horton from personal observation unless otherwise indicated
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Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa

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


30 May 2010
The first grasshoppers of the year were heard and then seen on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Two more notable firsts of the year were three Silver Y Moths, Burnet Companion Moths and a Purple Bar (a carpet moth) on Mill Hill. 

On the transect 1.2 acres of the lower slopes the count in a timed 11 minutes was 122 male Adonis Blues and nine females, including a mating pair. This count extrapolates to about 350 Adonis Blues on Mill Hill. Eleven species of butterfly and three macro moths were seen in about an hour. 
Full Butterfly & Moth Report
Adur Moth Report

25 May 2010
I made an unplanned visit to Worthing Pier as the tide was out. Under the many small rocks, there were two adult Blennies, Lipophrys pholis, and a few undersized Edible Crabs, Cancer pagurus.  The most notable discovery on the underside of a rock was a tiny nudibranch sea slug Facelina auriculata. Its cerata and overall appearance were bright crimson. 

24 May 2010
A surprising and unusual observation was the silvery rear and tail of a slender freshwater fish in Annington Sewer, north of Botolphs. The fish (I only see its rear under the weed) was estimated to be about 75 mm long. It hid in the weed near the water surface and did not appear to be a bottom dweller. I think it was almost certainly a Rudd

On the southern side of Buckingham Cutting, north Shoreham, two first of the year Small Blue Butterflies appeared after a few minutes waiting. Twelve species of butterfly were seen on the day on the Adur Levels and a visit to Anchor Bottom where over thirty Adonis Blues were in flight and the Green-winged Orchids were flowering.
Full Butterfly Report
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

23 May 2010
With the sun coming out, so were the butterflies. From the southern steps leading down to the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, was visible but a few days away from its peak. Venturing down to the lower slopes, there were sufficient butterflies around that I immediately knew there would be a problem counting them unless I kept notes. Most of these were male Adonis Blues and I kept my count to the 1.2 transect area completed in 25 minutes. The transect tally recorded was exactly 100 males plus two females, including a mating pair. Later (after I had stopped counting) four mating pairs were seen.  Fourteen species in a couple of hours was the most variety seen in a day this year. 

Orange-tip (female)
Adonis Blues

The tally included seven of my first Small Heaths of the year, a Green Hairstreak losing itself amongst The Horseshoe Vetch and a Wall Brown (one of two) seen in the same area (near the copse at the top of Mill Hill) for the last seven years. Over the Waterworks Road, (Old Shoreham), the first female Broad-bodied Chaser (dragonfly), Libellula depressa, of 2010 cruised above my head, and the four white butterflies seen there were females of the Orange-tip. Two males were also seen. The other butterfly species seen about midday were 16 Common Blues, 15 Dingy Skippers, four Grizzled Skippers, frequent Holly Blues, at least one Small White, Large White, and Green-veined White, two Red Admirals and one Speckled Wood
Full Butterfly Report

21 May 2010
My first shrimping outing of the year using my smaller three foot wide shrimp net on the medium tide on Lancing Beach (Widewater West) yielded a rather poor 30 or so Brown Shrimps, Crangon crangon, and a notable young Turbot, Psetta maxima
Full Shrimping Report

14 May 2010
At this time of year the St. Mark's Flies, Biblio, make a bit of a nuisance of themselves and they were common on and around the Buckingham Cutting (at the top of The Drive, Shoreham) although not so common on Mill Hill. Twelve species of butterfly were seen in a couple of hours of weak sunshine including my first Wall Brown Butterfly of the year, my first chocolate-brown female Adonis Blue Butterfly, my first Brown Argus, and my first male Common Blue Butterflies of the year, all on Mill Hill. 

female Adonis Blue
Brown Argus

The other species seen were a Small White, frequent Large Whites, a Green-veined White, a male Orange-tip, a Grizzled Skipper, half a dozen Dingy Skippers, occasional Holly Blues, and frequent Speckled Woods.
Full Butterfly Report
Brown Argus and Female Common Blue ID page
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

12 May 2010
The expanse of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, was only just beginning on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, visited by 13 Dingy Skippers and my first four male Adonis Blues of the year. 
Butterfly Report 2010

10 May 2010
I spotted my first Swallow of the year flying over Victoria Road, Portslade. Later, in the early evening a few more (at least two) Swallows were seen over Middle Road in the residential part of Shoreham. 

6 May 2010
Then off across the bridge to Mill Hill Nature Reserve on the lower slope I spent two hours, 2.30 to 4.30 pm. I saw my first Adonis Blue Butterfly of the year, then I found three Green Hairstreaks, three Small Coppers, one Grizzled Skipper, two Orange Tips, one Speckled Wood, two Small Heaths, lots of Dingy Skippers, male and female Brimstones, and Small Whites

Report by Alec Trusler on Sussex Butterfly Reports
Adur Butterflies: First Dates


May 2009

History of Mill Hill
Mill Hill News Reports 2010

Flora of Shoreham-by-Sea
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Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2009 web pages
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