Lower Adur Valley, West Sussex

May 2020

Dingy Skipper
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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

2020  Regional
Adur Coastal & Marine
Adur Estuary & Levels
Mill Hill & the Downs
Urban Reports
Click on the image                              to find the location on a map via flickr
Click on the image                              to find the location on a map via flickr
Click on the                              image to find the location on a map via                              geograph
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Click on the images above to find the location on a map via flickr or geograph 

Buckingham Park


29 May 2020
My first Meadow Brown Butterfly of the year was spotted on the west-facing bank of the Airport Towpath. This was an early record

28 May 2020

Australian Black Swan
from Shoreham Beach
Photograph by Sylvia Lemoniates  facebook

27 May 2020

Painted Lady on Dogwood

A couple of fluttering Holly Blue Butterflies attracted me to the Dogwood on the eastern verge of the Downs Link Cyclepath at Old Shoreham, when I then noticed my first Painted Lady of the year. This immigrant butterfly is much larger but was elusive to photograph in the late afternoon.

26 May 2020
A small pod of dolphins were seen out of Shoreham in the early evening.


Knapweed Broomrape

I made just a very brief visit to the top southern part of Mill Hill on a demonstration ebike where I met Philippa of the South Downs National Park Authority. Parasitic plants were much in evidence: frequent scattered first growths of the very distinctive Knapweed Broomrape and the small yellow flowers of Yellow Rattle. Wild Mignonette was seen by the layby.
Sussex Rare Plant Register

22 May 2020

White Stork over the nest at Knepp
Photograph by Sue Gale

20 May 2020 
A Skylark sang in the Cirrostratus sky, on a sunny afternoon that prompted a visit to the top part of Mill Hill. Frequent butterflies fluttered around: occasional male and female Common Blues, a few each of male Adonis Blues, Brimstones, Dingy Skippers, my first Green Hairstreak of the year, and my first Mother Shipton Moth. A Speckled Wood showed in the top copse where I noted hundreds of Garlic Mustard plants going stringy.
Mill Hill Illustrated Report

Herring Gulls

19 May 2020

Adonis Blue Butterflies

Under a pale blue sky, sheltered  from the easterly breeze, I gave up counting the Adonis Blue Butterflies over the lower slopes of Mill HiIl at fifty (46+4). They were all very lively in the afternoon sunshine and hardly ever settled, even when mating. After completing the lower acre transect I spotted an estimated further twenty, including three mating pairs, as I returned by the winding path. Another eight species of butterfly were seen.
Full Butterfly Report

16 May 2020


A male Linnet called from a perch on the twig by Annington Sewer.

15 May 2020

Sea Kale at Shoreham Beach East

In the shimmering haze, vast swathes of Sea Kale were flowering on the shingle above the high tide mark on the eastern part of Shoreham Beach

14 May 2020
My first two Swallows of the summer flew low over the middle slopes of Mill HiIl

12 May 2020

Great Crested Grebe
Photograph by Sylvia Lemoniates

A young Great Crested Grebe visited Lady Bee Marina, Shoreham Harbour.

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
(Shakespeare's Sonnet 18)

Adur Thorn

9 May 2020

Mouse-eared Hawkweed, Thrift
Sea Campion
Widewater flood plain

The beach flowers were beginning to bloom in the sunshine, the first swathes of Red Valerian near the Church of the Good Shepherd, and Sea Kale, Hoary Cress, Thrift, Sea Campion, Mouse-eared Hawkweed, Cat's Ear, Bird's-foot Trefoil, Ivy-leaved Toadflax, Scarlet Pimpernel, on the Widewater flood plain. 
Adur Bees 2020

8 May 2020

Lower slopes of Mill HiIl

7 May 2020

Holly Blue Butterfly

Under a hazy blue sky, there was rather minimal flying insect activity on the southern bank at the eastern end of the Slonk Hill Cutting. As the vehicles droned by, I spotted a few queen Buff-tailed Bumblebees, a Red Admiral, a Small Heath Butterfly, a Large Red Damselfly and a Holly Blue Butterfly in about thirty minutes. Later, at Buckingham Cutting (south) two Speckled Wood Butterflies and familiar hoverflies appeared in the shade of the linear copse. 
Adur Butterfly List 2020

6 May 2020

Adonis Blues

Butterflies were frequent and lively on a sunny afternoon, notably the first two female Adonis Blues of the year with half a dozen males, with a pair attempting to copulate. I estimated at least twenty Dingy Skippers all over the lower slopes of Mill HiIl

6 May 2020

White Stork
Photograph by Sue Gale

For the first time in over five centuries a pair of White Storks, Ciconia ciconia, living wild on the Knepp Estate, in the Adur valley, have seen the first egg of five hatch in their large new nest at the top of an old Oak Tree. This rewilding project was started with the introduction of a pair of adult Storks from Poland in 2016. However, the introduced female appears to have mated with a vagrant male bird. 

5 May 2020

Adonis Blue

Draughty and cloudy, conditions not ideal for butterflies but better for photography, I nevertheless enjoyed my afternoon visit to the Horseshoe Vetch covered lower slopes of Mill HiIl. Dingy Skippers were frequent and widespread and on the two-thirds transect I estimated at least 35, including a mating pair. However, I did not actually disturb a single Grizzled Skipper. Other butterflies disturbed from rest were occasional Peacocks, five male Adonis Blues, my first pristine Brown Argus of the year, one Small Heath, and one Brimstone. A Treble-bar Moth showed and a small pyralid moth Pyrausta nigrata were spotted. In Shoreham there was a Holly Blue and a probable Small White.
Mill Hill Report

2 May 2020
A Short-nosed Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, was a surprising discovery in a shallow neap tide rockpool in the River Adur estuary by the Scout Hut, Adur Recreation Ground. 

Short-nosed Seahorse
Photograph & Video Report by Sue Gale  facebook

Two species of Seahorse are found in  the seas around the British Isles: the Spiny Seahorse, Hippocampus guttulatus, is rare in the English Channel, recorded off Dorset and the western approaches mostly. The Short-nosed Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, is occasionally found in deep water around the Channel Islands, unusual but widespread elsewhere. It was also recorded off the coast of Holland in 1998. This species is found in deep water off the Sussex coast, notably off Southwick, near Shoreham-by-Sea.

BMLSS Seahorses (for the younger reader)
BMLSS Seahorses & Pipefishes

Coastal and Marine Reports 2020
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Mill Hill Reports 2020
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May 2019 Reports
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Adur Nature Notes 2013

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Adur Butterfly List 2020
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Adur Nature Notes 2015
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Link to Adur Valley Nature Notes 2003Latest Nature Notes                      and Index page 2002
Mill Hill, north of Shoreham


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