Friday, 14 August 2009

What a difference a day makes.

The safari was back National Marine Weeking again today, the penultimate event. Like yesterday we started with a look at the SeaLife Centre’s rockpool they had kindly put together for us. Their staff had been busy finding a different set of creatures for us to look at including a rather large and fearsome looking Edible Crab.
Out on the beach the weather wasn’t as nice as yesterday and some idiot had put his shorts and sandals on so as he could venture in to the water net in hand. The southerly wind which you would expect to bring warm weather didn’t, rather the opposite today. The number of people enjoying a day on the beach was far fewer than yesterday. Just these hardy souls.

Although we were on the north side of the pier we were only a couple of hundred yards away from where we were yesterday but, somewhat surprisingly, the difference in the numbers and types of shells found on the beach was significantly lower today. There did seem to be a far greater proportion of Banded Wedge Shells, nothing like as many Rayed Trough Shells, very few Razor Shells and Pod Razors (competition is still open - there are two days left to find the longest on the beach...great prizes for the winner!) and only a small number of Common Cockles with no Prickly Cockles at all. This side of the pier had some Sea Gooseberries, something we definitley didn't find on the other side. How do you photograph something that is totally transparent?Top left - Banded Wedge Shell, top right - remains of a Whelk sp, bottom left - Striped Venus Shell, bottom right - Beadlet Anenome, bottom 'centre' - Baltic (Thin) Tellin.
In the sea we could only find Brown Shrimps, but there were hundreds of them and some a decent size, and a single small fish. Sadly, no sign of my new favourite crustacean, Iphinoe (see yesterdays post for a pic).
There had been reports of large fish, if you call 2-3 inches large, being seen in a pool left by the tide right under the sea wall. This had to be investigated. Yes there were a lot of small fish but could we catch them in the knee-deep water. They zoomed off in all directions, even diving into the sand in front of the nets.

Very few were actually caught and those that were were only very small ones. Again we netted a lot of Brown Shrimps. The submerged ‘steps’ (they’re not steps - they are in fact ‘wave energy dissipaters’) at the bottom of the wall was the most lucrative place to trawl. Green Shore Crabs of all sizes from tiny, millimetre wide, specimens to this full grown monster were dragged out of their hiding places.

Some had just moulted and were still soft, known as peeler crabs to the fishermen who would jump at the chance to have them for bait.
A reasonable sized clump of live Mussels had secreted about it this Beadlet Anenome,

not as colourful as the South Shore ones seen last weekend but another good find none-the-less. As was this Wendle Trap Shell,

which is listed as ‘rare’ along this coast in the first Fylde Coast Marine Life Project’s first guide book. It was the very last find of the day; just as we were putting every thing back in the water it fell out of the same clump of Mussels in which we found the Anenome.
Again we found small lengths of the Lancashire Biodiversity Action Plan species, Knotted Wrack. In fact there was very little seaweed on this section of the beach.
A cold day out compared to yesterday but still full of exciting new finds.

Where to next? More rock pooling tomorrow…perhaps the last of the summer.
In the meantime let us know what’s hiding in your sandy outback.

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