The Safari was out on Patch 2 briefly this morning checking access fore the little ones. A quick look over the sea only gave us about a dozen Sandwich Terns and not a lot else, two dark looking interesting things approached from way to the south but we lost them in the haze before they got close enough for an ID.
The little ones hit the beach and their grasping hands were soon filled with all shapes and sizes of shells, they particularly liked the rubbery horseshoe shaped ribbons of Necklace Shell eggs.
They found a few empty Masked Crab carapaces whose occupants are hidden deep in the sand somewhere else.
We had a skutch round the pots with the net and found a few Common Prawns and a single live juvenile Green Shore Crab. The littlies found the tiniest Brittle Star which when put in the water revealed itself to be still well and truly alive.
A sharp eyed child picked up this mangled shell of a Hermit Crab, Pargurus bernhardus, it's a lot bigger than the ones we usually find, the big claw is about three inches (75mm) long. It's actually another shed skin.
Better was to come when a small hand gave us a snotty blob of jelly...we haven't seen anything quite like it before and giving it a squeeze a jet of water squirted out at one end...giving us a very big clue!
It's a Sea Squirt of some description. Early thoughts leaned towards Molgula manhattensis but those clever iSpotters later suggested it could be Ascidiella aspersa.
What ever it is it's a new one for us.
We didn't get a chance to have a shuffy at Patch 2 at lunchtime but a walk with Frank at teatime gave us some nice patches of Sweet Vernal Grass and our first Lesser Trefoil of the year, the local patch of Common Figwort is coming along nicely...but where are our Swifts?
Where to next? Woooohoooo we're on our hols and anything could happen, might even get the moth trap out tonight...best check the forecast...could be a chance to steal a march on Monika arch-rival in our annual Year List Challenge...it's very very close between us at the moment
In the meantime let us know what the tiny hands are grabbing at in your outback.