Field Reports
Early September
                                            Kithurst Hill
This Field Outing was spread over 3 dates to allow as many Members as possible to attend given the Covid restrictions of no more than 6 attendees.

Wednesday 2 September                           Kihurst Hill Part 1                                                Leader Jim Bagley

Five members-one less than the law allows-met on a lovely morning, the heat tempered by a cool breeze. A large flock of Linnets were moving east along the ridge of the downs while Yellow Hammers were in the car park. As we moved to Kithurst Meadow a Raven was calling nearby. As clouds were now building the meadow did not yield as many butterflies as hoped. Only a tatty Meadow Brown-Brown Argus and Small Heath were seen. On the edge of the skirting woodland Great and Blue Tits were noted. The star of the day was a male Redstart. Flowers present in the meadow included Round Headed Rampion- Marjoram- Field Scabious- Harebell and Eyebright. We then walked west to a small mound called the Camel’s Hump for lunch. On the way we recorded Buzzard-Red Kite-House Martin- Swallow and Goldfinch. Wild flowers seen en-route included Toad Flax-Centuary and Silverweed. During lunch on the Hump a Wheatear and a Kestrel flew over.On the way back to the car park we had a very good view of a Raven.  In all a very pleasant relaxed walk in good company.
Jim Bagley

 Meadow Brown
Meadow Brown

 Thursday 3rd September 2020               Kithurst Hill Part 2                                          Leader David Hart

On leaving Slindon, the weather was reasonable but the closer we got to Kithurst, the more the mist thickened.
On parking, the first people we met were a group of very highly regarded birders on their way home, they had given up!!!!   But our group of five were made of tougher stuff.   Firstly we went to the flower meadow, only two butterflies were evident – small heath and speckled wood.   A far away raven could be identified by it’s familiar call described as a ‘kronk kronk’ sound.   The raven, being the largest of the crow family with a wing span greater than that of a buzzard.
We headed west along the south downs way, weather conditions were absolutely atrocious, but by now we were beginning to get a good list of plants which we will mention again later.   We arrived at the high point above Rackham known as the Camel’s Hump, but decided not to lunch there.   We hunkered down below a bank with the mist and wind swirling over the top of us, and then to our amazement the weather began to clear.  Amberley Castle and Wild Brooks came into view but still few birds and butterflies.  On the circular walk back we spotted a batchelor group of roe buck.  Red kite, jay and kestrel performed flyovers.   A buzzard was heard and later spotted.   The only other birds seen were yellowhammer, long-tailed tits, stock dove, pheasants and wood pigeons in good numbers.   At least with the clearing weather we were able to talk about the flint mines and leper colony which can be seen from the south downs way.   Our second visit to the flower meadow sadly didn’t add to our butterfly list
I would like to thank my companions for their determination to enjoy the walk despite the inclement weather.   Here is a list of flora seen:  Round headed Rampian, Small Scabious and Devil’s-bit Scabious, Common Toad flax, St. John’s Wort, Ragwort, Marjoram, Wild Basil, Eyebright, Harebell, Bird’s foot Trefoil, Hemp Agrimony, Heath Bedstraw, Red Poppy, Phacelia, Chicory, Kidney Vetch, Yellow Rattle and Common Knapweed.

David Hart

Speckled Wood
Speckled Wood

Monday 7th September                        Kihurst Hill Part 3                                          Leader John Kelsall

Under the new normal of 2020, only 6 were allowed out on the walk from Kithurst Hill car park.  John Kelsall was our leader and we were promised butterflies, lizards and possibly yellowhammers.
Setting off from the car park we went first into a meadow to the North, where we caught sight of plenty of small and large white butterflies, and a couple of red admirals.  One sharp-eyed member saw a meadow grasshopper and another one spotted a couple of swallows flying overhead.  There were plenty of wild flowers: toadflax, a stunning angelica, pignut umbels, delicate harebells and pretty eyebright
We then followed a footpath to Rackham Hill, where we stopped for lunch on a tumulus.  Along the way, we saw pheasants, a buzzard, a red kite and heard a raven.  An unidentifiable dragonfly taunted us while we ate and a wheatear perched on a gatepost for our entertainment.
On the way back to the cars we were ‘attacked’ by several gatekeeper butterflies  - next to a gate, of course – and were just lamenting that we had not seen any promised lizards despite the warm sunshine, when – not just one, but eleven! – a mixture of juveniles and adult lizards were found, sunning themselves on horizontal blocks of wood in the car park.
How clever of John to keep the best until last.
Our list consisted of:

Butterflies & Insects
Small White                Large White                Red Admiral               Speckled Wood
Gatekeeper               Meadow Grasshopper Unidentified dragonfly

Pheasant                      Swallow                      Raven (heard)             Buzzard
Wheatear                     Red Kite                      Robin                          Chaffinch

Agrimony, common          Angelica                      Black bryony                Black medick
Blackthorn (sloe berries) Catsear                       Corn chamomile           Dogwood
Dovesfoot Cranesbill       Eyebright                    Fleabane                      Germander speedwell
Harebell                           Hawthorn                    Hemp agrimony             Herb robert
Hogweed                         Knapweed                   Ladies bedstraw            Marjoram
Mint                                 Mugwort                      Nipplewort                     Perforate St John’s Wort
Pignut                             Plantain                       Polygonal knotgrass      Ragwort
Red bartsia                    Scabious                      Silverweed                    Smooth sowthistle
Spear thistle                   Toadflax                       Trefoil                           Upright Hedge Parsley
Wild basil                        Wild Clematis (old man’s beard)                       Wild Parsnip
Yarrow                             Yellow rattle

Common Lizards (juveniles and adults)

Horse Mushroom        The Deceiver  (photos on website –  might be proved wrong!)

Julia Macfarlane

Common Lizard one of many!

The Deceiver (we think!)
Small white - Kithurst September 2020
Small White
Lizards - Kithurst September 2020
More Common Lizards
Long distance wheatear - Kithurst September 2020
Long range Wheatear
The View - Kithurst September 2020
The lunch time view - no fog for us!

Chichester, West Sussex

© Copyright 2021 Chichester Natural History SocietyWeb Design By Toolkit Websites