Friday, 30 January 2015

Stormy starfish carnage

The Safari wasn't able to get out early doors this morning and had to wait until lunchtime before venturing forth to the seawall. There was a reasonable number of gulls on the beach mostly Black Headed Gulls rather than Herring Gulls, it's usually the other way round by a mile at the mo. We couldn't find anything in amongst them but could see they were working their way through a particularly dense stretch of a long strandline.
There wasn't much happening out at  sea so we decided to take a shuffy at whatever the gulls were looking for.
It was pure carnage down on the sand, victims of the storms of the last several days.
What we couldn't see from our elevated vantage point was just how many Common Sand Stars there were, there must have been thousands of them, some still just about alive or at least very slow in the bitingly cold wind.
Looking at the strandline more closely we noticed there were quite a few Bristle Stars lurking there too.
Not only Bristle Stars but also some Cushion Stars too, it shouldn't be but it is amazing what you find when you start to look closely - just how much tonnage of life is out there? Everyone should really be looking at their surroundings closely at all times, there's just some much to see.
 Some of those Common Sand Stars were pretty sizable compared to our size 9s
Sat a little way apart from the rest of the carnage was a nice bright Queen Scallop encrusted with Dead Mans' Fingers, a relative of the anemones.
We posted a general pic of the carnage on Twitter and ended up with a bit of a challenge from LM another marine biologist friend
 Here's our tally
1 - Pod Razor
2 - Bean Razor
3 - Curved Razor
4 - Rayed Trough Shell
5 - Thin Tellin
6 - Common Cockle
7 - Necklace Shell
8 - Comon Sand Star
9 - Brittle Star
10 - Sea Potato
11 - Masked Crab
12 - Shore Crab
13 - Sand Mason Worm cases
14 - Fan Worm cases
15 - An unidentified worm (slightly top right of centre - any ideas anyone?)

Earlier this morning we learned that the Limpet was back in town although we should have received the message yesterday, the wonders of modern technology ehh!
So with a few minutes to spare we had a quick look, we were told roughly were it was. It didn't take long to find, stuck out like a sore thumb. 
Made a bit of a hole in the Enteromorpha there hasn't it.
Go on let us into a secret - where has it been for the last however many months? It's only inches from where we last saw it but it's not been near there in recent weeks - as far as we've been able to search at least.
Cold out there again in that cruel wind but a good bit of exploring well worth getting chilled to the bone for.
Where to next? It's the weekend and we've got a certain natty version of Goldcrests as a target.
In the meantime let us know who's all washed up in your  outback.

1 comment:

cliff said...

Carnage indeed, what a scene, awesome!
If it's not too windy might take the grandkids on the beach this morning to see if we can find anything like that.