Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Two new to 'science'

The Safari saw the sea was almost flat calm this morning and could hardly wait to get the scope out. Unfortunately there wasn't much doing, a distant Grey Seal and a dozen Gannets was all we could muster.
At lunchtime we must have had the best part of a 100 whale and dolphin watching helpers most of them children too small to see over the wall. A/the Grey Seal was no much closer, only yards from the wall,  but playing hard to get by only popping up for seconds before disappearing beneath the tiny waves for long minutes at a time. Distantly we had about 150 Common Scoters but they too were hard to get the multitudes on to.
All the while Sandwich Terns mooched about some quite close in but these probably looked too much like 'seagulls' to be 'interesting', a few Common Terns were in the mix too.
We managed to wangle a pic of yesterday's dead Harbour Porpoise off AB's phone but the injury marks are inconclusive, the large square graze in front of the dorsal fin could have been made as the carcass rubbed on the sand as it washed in...always sad to see them like this though.

After the watch we had a quick lunch while the hordes descended on to the beach. This is jut some of them...

 And some more...we've never had to entertain so many before!
All those eyes nets were bound to find something interesting...and they did.
A nice but small Compass Jellyfish.

After hundreds of Brown Shrimps, several Common Prawns and a few Sand Gobies were identified the less numerous species came to light, tiny 'new born' Blennies, the smallest Green Shore Crabs you ever did see and a Lion's Mane Jellyfish.
And then the biggies appeared, first up a Chiton, apparently there were a fair number in one pot - never seen one before and told Monika a while ago we didn't get them on our shoreline = ooopps!!! Being an American hers was far larger than ours!
Which species? One for iSpot we think!
Then in one of the trays we saw a little white thing like a piece of white plastic but it was swimming. We're pretty sure it's an Isopod; another for iSpot!

This is how it swam round, like a folded upside-down paper dart, flicking out those paddle-like legs.
A fascinating day on the beach was topped by the discovery of Gammerid type shrimps, very similar to the freshwater shrimps that swim on their sides and not at all like the Brown Shrimps.
All this new stuff was due to the fact we were looking in a slightly different place along the wall, the tide had left runnels too deep for the small children to cross in our usual places - thanks very much Mr Tide you've played a blinder!
Where to next? More flat calm sea we hope.
In the meantime let us know what's waiting to be discovered in your outback.

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