Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Golden Sands hit new heights

The Safari was out extra early with a group of pre-school kiddywinkies this morning. They were so small they had to be taken across to the beach using a Walkodile - what a cracking where did I leave my plough?
Small and toddly though the children were they were up for some serious exploration even though it was still a bit nippy frosty and the wind was keen under the wall where the sun didn't yet reach.
We soon had tubfuls of the usual suspects and as is befitting small children they liked the big Pod Razors. curly Edible Whelks (we all had a go at listening to the sea in that one - hope there wasn't a giant Ragworm lurking in the innermost recesses!) and the colourful Prickly Cockles best. 
However it wasn't long before they discovered the delights of the small shells, they especially liked the lovely purple of the inside of the Rayed Trough Shells and Banded Wedge Shells.
They found loads while we struggled to didn't them any Brown Shrimps, Common Prawns or Green Shore Crabs - nothing creepy-crawly was discovered in the net apart from the smallest baby Brittle Star we've ever seen and unlike most Brittle Stars it was still alive.
Better was to come; one of the children found a shell we've never seen before. a bit like a cross between a flat ended Banded wedge Shell and the much bigger Blunt Gaper, a real mystery. The ever helpful iSpotters have given a likely ID as a Paper Thracia (Thracia phaseolina); no; we've never heard of it before either...all credit to sharp little eyes!

Should have taken out the grain of sand
And there's more as the saying goes - this time we found it ourselves whilst trawling for the creepy-crawlies. There were lots and lots of the regular Sand Mason Worm cases all limp and floppy in the bottom of our net but there amongst thenm was something stiffer and made with finer grains looking for all the world like tiny thin ice cream comes - what were they? Again not previously seen and we think they are from some kind of Fan Worm. We went back at lunchtime to get some for pics and could only find three out of the tens of thousands of Sand Mason Worm cases.
It's not every day you find two species you've never seen before especially as we only went out with the intention of showing the little ones the 'usual' stuff they are likely to find if they come down to the beach with ma n pa.

All goes to prove nature throws some very curved balls and you're quite likely to learn something new everyday. As Wifey says "The magic of nature is all around us we just need to learn how to look"
Our lunchtime look found this freshly deceased and unmarked Dab.

 On the sea two more Sandwich Terns went by, one near in the other far out, that was about it bird-wise for today.
At going home time we spotted a Greater Pond Snail chomping away on an Elodea stem close to the surface of the pond in glorious sunlight. Our photo doesn't acuratley reflect what our eyes could see...also seen a single small 3-spined Stickleback......arrrrrggggghhhhhh...and no sign of the Goldfish, a cunning bottle trap awaits it we think.

First Dandelions were seen yesterday along with a single Cowslip flower.
And guess who came to tea again last night, enjoying Frank's working dog high cal high protein biscuits he's not allowed/doesn't need any more...wonder if it would like one of his old beds too!


Where to next? More Patch 2 stuff, a passing Osprey would be nice.
In the meantime let us know what's hard or flaccid in your outback.

1 comment:

cliff said...

Those cylindrical worm cases are extraordinary Dave, what a great find.

Nice fox footage, love the way it sits down & makes itself at home.