Monday, 2 August 2010

Once more onto the beach dear friends – Part 1

The Safari’s late jaunt to Patch 1 last night gave us the black blob Peregrine but it had already left by the time we got there this morning. Nothing else of any note at all there this morning.
The beach, with the little people, up at Gynn Square, however, was very a different kettle of fish altogether. Almost as soon as we’d got on to the sand we were finding large Compass Jellyfish.
A large pool regularly left behind by the tide had a fringe of sea weeds along its concrete edge and all manner of critters were hiding in there. Lots of seashells to be found in the warm (a relative term) shallows too. Before long Common Razors, a few huge Pod Razors and even a couple of Curved Razors were in the tray. The Curved Razors are hard to find down at our ‘normal’ southern end of the beach. A Prickly Cockle dwarfed any of the Common Cockles we found and there were plenty of Edible Mussels of all sizes – while we were waiting for the children to turn up we watched the gulls trying to smash these by dropping them on the concrete.
The nets were soon being emptied of ‘hundreds’ of Green Shore Crabs and Brown Shrimps but there in amongst them, smaller and darker, was something we didn’t recognise which was later (tentatively) identified as Idotea linearis. A little later we found a few more but these were paler, are they the same species? Is our resident expert Dr KT out there?
Is this
the same as this? We're not sure but it does have the same white segment in the centre of the antenna - juvenile - why do they have that - camouflage???

Below is the same individual as above
Small Gammerid Shrimps buzzed about and a Ragworm was found crawling on the sand – unfortunately the latter was eaten by the other inhabitants of the tray! Lurking amongst the multitude of Brown Shrimps were a few Sand Gobies and one very tiny Shanney. A young Dab was also scooped out of its hiding place – as if there was anywhere to hide with all those nets being expertly wielded by the youngsters.
Find of the finds was achieved by one of the mums with the keenest of eyesight – from a huge pile of seaweed she picked out a Dipteran larva of some species or other – it was miniscule and transparent, no more than 4mm long and 1/4mm thick – how on earth did she spot that!
A Tower Shell was found along with broken pieces of Dog Whelk and Edible Whelk; egg cases of both these species were picked off the beach. Several Rayed Trough Shells were picked up but all were well bleached, although one small well bleached individual was still alive. This is unusual as once they are on the higher reaches of the beach the birds soon find them. Another RTS had the tell-tale hole of Necklace Shell predation but we didn’t find any of the perpetrators. Small numbers of Banded Wedge Shells were also collected.
In with the seaweed some small pieces of Horn Wrack were found, which is a colonial Bryozoan, an animal that looks more seaweed like than some seaweeds!
An excellent morning’s net work thoroughly enjoyed by the children, 24 species recorded excluding the seaweeds and the sun shone – just about! Where to next? More of the same but down South Beach tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know what’s been trayed-up in your outback.


Craig said...

Hi Dave,
Check you emails please....ive sent you a question, i was hoping you would give your views please? im itching to know.

best wishes,

Amila Kanchana said...

Very interesting specimen collection!

Monika said...

That compass jelly is striking! I'm heading out to the beach to do a (bird) survey today, but I'll see what else I can find....