Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The beach doth beckon

The Safari managed a couple of pics at the river yesterday afternoon. Three Mute Swans drifted serenely past while a Moorhen skulked furtively in the vegetation across on the far side.

More interesting were the demoiselles which fluttered up and down the far bank. With no bins with us we’d never be able to tell. Then m’laddo spotted one settle on some reeds just beyond midstream and probably out of range, it wasn’t a large river, more of a decent sized stream but still the best part of 20 yards or more wide. The Moorhen bobbed past it and it flushed but returned to settle on the same reed...promising! We wound the lens up to full volume but just as we were trying to find the right reed in the viewfinder another demoiselle fluttered past with our in hot pursuit. Fortunately he returned to his favoured look-out perch and we were click him. Not the best photo of a Banded Demoiselle  you’ll ever see (it's actually on the reeds you can see beyond the swan's tail) but at least a confirmation as to which of the two species it was. 

Today we had a look over the wall at a very gloomy Patch 2, so gloomy we could barely see the sea across the wide expanse of beach. We did manage a Grey Seal and a flock of Dunlin flew past him and landed on the beach for a count – 24. Three Turnstones were first heard then seen flying from the wall to the outfall pipe. However, easily the best sighting of the short session was of a flock of 12 Black Tailed Godwits (179, P2 #76) (didn't realise it was a year bird!!! - What? Not seen before so far this year - how odd, or how not written down - which???) flying south towards the estuary. Not a species often seen passing this stretch of beach.
After a quick cuppa it was back on to the beach with another group of children eager to explore what the tide might have brought in. A dead Dab and broken piece of Sea Potato were at our feet as we did the obligatory safety demonstration. Once that was over the nets were handed out, trays filled with clean water and off they went to see what they could find.
Quality finds included:-
A very nicely marked Striped Venus Shell which we really should have got a pic of.
Another juvenile Blenny of the same size as Monday’s.
Seven Elegant Anemones including a rather impressive large specimen – really need that underwater camera! And a large Beadlet Anemone waiting for the tide to come back in
Hoards of Brown Shrimps, but try as we might we couldn’t find a Common Prawn today.
Several pairs of Green Shore Crabs and plenty of tiny juveniles.

A couple of Necklace Shells covered with Hedgehog Hydroids.
Many Common Periwinkles, don’t know if Rough Periwinkles are present here but we haven’t come across one yet.
With almost the last sweep of the net we flukily swiped out this tiny sea slug, is it Onchidoris bilamellata again or some other species?

Our marine biologist friend DB appeared with her dog and stayed with us for a while before meandering further down the beach. Later she returned with this rather dapper Hermit Crab tucked in to his/her Necklace Shell.

She also told us of a Smooth Hound her dog had sniffed out and she’d stashed for us to go and find – find we did and believe us when we say it didn’t take much sniffing!!! 

Nearby was a small cluster of Squid eggs, about the size of a tennis ball; don’t know how we’d missed these early not seeing them and not standing on them as there were plenty of children netting in this area, probably couldn’t see them due to all the fine silt they had stirred up.

Yet another great day exploring the beach – every day is different as you just never know what the tide is going to bring up.
Where to next? More of the same tomorrow but on a different stretch of beach and one we’re not so familiar with so who knows what the nets will encounter.
In the meantime let us know what’s being trawled for in your outback.

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

Could have done with the cooling sea breeze here today Davo !