A warm and sunny but windy afternoon saw the safari hit Blackpool's Rock Pools armed with a variety of multi coloured buckets and nets.
The recent rough seas had broken up most of the shells, but a few live Mussles clung tenaciously to the inside of the articial pools. Pod and Common Razor Shells were frequently found still intact.
There were bits of Common Cockle and Prickly Cockle as well as some fragments of Baltic Tellin, Rayed Trough Shell, Tower Shell and Whelks. A few specimens of Common Otter Shell with only minor damage were found in the pools. It was encouraging to see large accretions of Sabellaria Worm. This worm builds 'reefs' that are habitat for all sorts of other shore line creatures. It is also a UK Biological Action Plan (UK BAP) Habitat because of its scarcity and importance. Nice to see such good patches on a stucture only 7 years or so old.
Plenty of dead and 'peeler' crab skins hit the bottom of the buckets as did a small number of live crags, most were Velvet Swimming Crab, but one young girl managed to track down a Shore Crab. Eventually a couple of larger Swimming Crabs were winkled out of their hidey-holes, the largest a good 4 inches across.
Excitement mounted another youngster brought a bucket full of Common Sand Stars, (Orange Starfish) collected a little further along the beach. Buckets were filling up with Shrimps, Prawns and a few small fish. One species was one I've not seen before a free swimming species with the most beautiful emerald green back, about 1 1/2 inches long. A few of Sand Gobies and Rock Blennies were caught and to my surprise a couple of Butterfish. None of these were very big, an inch at the most, but as the tide started to rise and it was time to leave the beach a much larger one of about 2 1/2 inches was found. I've not seen this species here before so it was much appreciated. Again at the end of the safari I was brough a piece of orangy seaweed that lookeda bit like a piece of crust from a loaf. Further investigation this evening revealed it to have been a piece of Breadcrumb Sponge, something else I've never seen before!
Another much smaller creature I've never seen before was a timy 5mm long whizzy thing, red at the front, white in the middle, and black at the tail end. It behaved like an underwater Whirligig Beetle - I haven't a clue what it was! Any ideas anyone?
Sorry no photos again - camera problems....repeat 1000 times 'I MUST CHECK THE BATTERIES'.....
Where to next? Back to the rock pools next Sunday at 4.00pm. Meet at the Mirror Ball.
In the meantime let us know what you have found in your 'outback'.