Thursday, 2 December 2010

The safari didn't see the hungry Fox again last night, nor was the Peregrine roosting. Patch 1 this morning was very dark and nothing was stirring. So little was going on that we forgot to look up and count the Magpies in Magpie Wood!
Patch 2 was a cold bleak affair; no sunshine today just grey skies and a bitingly cold wind. We gave it just long enough for a few scans of the sea, no beach this morning as it was high tide. A fair number of Cormorants remained uncounted but well in to double figures, one of which was Shag.
In the distance a couple of Great Black Backed Gulls wheeled around looking as though they were interested in something in the water but too far away for us to be able to see if there was actually anything there. Much closer in we had two Red Throated Divers go past heading north closely followed by a third. Within a couple of minutes a flock of six Great Crested Grebes also went north just a little closer in; something to the south of us mustn’t have been to their liking!
With plenty of beach available at lunchtime there was plenty of activity happening. The gulls were given a right proper going over but once again nothing out of the ordinary stood-up, waved and shouted ‘coo-eee I’m over here’ – they rarely do! The waders were busy and we counted 155 Sanderlings, 20 Redshanks, 17 Turnstones, on or beneath the outfall pipe, and the lonely Dunlin...we’re now convinced it thinks it’s a Sanderling.
Almost at the top of the beach was an Octopus Jellyfish that was crying out to be photographed so we went back to the office for the camera.

Once on the beach the extent of the shellfish wreck was evident. We were spoiled for choice with good sized specimens of a wide range of species. Trying hard not to get our feet wet we collected a few of the undamaged specimens for a project we hope will begin in the New Year. Carrying them back with wet hands was burningly colldddddd.
Once back in the office we cleaned them off and now hope they’re not going to have stunk the place out tomorrow morning...

They are 1. Edible Oyster, 2. Common Razor, 3 Pod Razor (Curved Razor is extremely rare on Patch 2 but is common on the beach at the north end of town), 4. Common Cockle (couldn’t find a typically pure white one!), 5. Iceland Cyprina (one of the longest lived animals on the planet), 6. Rayed Trough Shell (also showing the beautiful purple interior), 7. ‘Beach’ coal (washed up from a submarine coal seam), 8. Common Otter Shell, 9. Necklace Shell (a predator on the other shells), 10. Edible Mussel, 11. Edible Whelk and 12. Prickly Cockle.
Where to next? More Patchy stuff.
In the meantime anyone out on the Fylde’s beaches in the next few weeks is welcome to submit large size hi-res pics of any of the marine life they find – from simple seaweeds to minke whales...if it’s on our beach we need a pic of it; habitat shots are very welcome too. Contact the Safari for details of how to get involved.


cliff said...

Two fantastic photos there Dave, in fact I wouldn't mind a bigger version of shot two to hang onto for ID purposes, any chance you can email me one??

I nipped to the Mere just before dusk today for half an hour.
The most notable sighting was whilst a Coot & Moorhen were squabbling over a slice of bread that a couple had just thrown out (near where the ducks are fed)briefly out runs a Water Rail to join the battle for the bread. I've coaxed rails out many times before in icy weather, but usually by sitting quietly & waiting for one to check out the food I've put out - I've not seen one have a tug of war over a slice of bread before, poor thing must be starving.


Stu said...

'Prickly Cockle' makes me smirk for some reason..................

Monika said...

Fantastic looking jellyfish!

Impressive stuff on the shellfish ID, too. That's one area I haven't ventured yet.

Anonymous said...

Oh, i wish i lived by the coast. I might have something to post other than Woodpigeons.