Friday, 13 February 2015

First look in the rockpools of the year

The Safari has a couple of updates from yesterday for you. Yesterday we had two visitors to the office both required us to leave the office and go outside. Lucky for us as we had a Grey Wagtail ((P2 #30) on the first visit and a Robin (P2 #31) poking around the shrubbery on our second jaunt outside.
This morning we resolved to count the gulls, it was too murky out to sea to see much anyway. We also counted the Oystercatchers as they are about the same size ass the gulls. The dropping tide gave us about 60 of each slightly more Oycs than gulls - gulls counted generically not to species - a Bar Tailed Godwit (P2 #32) was with the Oycs away to the south.
We did it again this at lunchtime and the result was the other way round with about 65 of each but slightly more gulls than Oycs. Still hardly a big count - where are the big flocks of gulls? We want some Yellow Legged Gulls and argentatus Herring Gulls to gawp at...a lost Laughing Gull having a 25 mile wander from it's 'pontoon' on the lake would be more than welcome to put in an appearance.
The Bar Tailed Godwit had done a bunk but there were just a measly four Sanderlings and eleven Redshanks out there.
Mid-afternoon we were able to get out on the beach with our marine biologist friend DB to look at the proposed works to the outfall pipe this coming summer. The one and only Limpet on our length of coast is right in the firing line of the demolition gang -  a rescue plan is needed and we were sussing out somewhere safe to relocate it to.
From ARKive
Common limpets begin their life as males, becoming sexually mature at around 9 months of age. Most individuals undergo a sex change, typically becoming female at 2 or 3 years of age, although some remain as males. Spawning takes place once a year, usually from October to December, although the timing varies around the British Isles. Fertilisation occurs externally; the larvae spend their first few days of life in the water column, after which time they settle on the shore. Life-span varies, but is between 10 and 20 years.
Also lurking in the rockpools were a good number of Beadlet Anemones waiting for the tide to return. Some tiny little baby ones clinging on there too and a Common Periwinkle.
One of the pools had a fairly fresh Native Oyster washed in to it.
Probably the most unusual sighting was a very small blob of Edible Whelks eggs stuck to the side of one of the pots. We see much larger egg masses all the time rolling around on the beach but we've never seen them stuck to the side of a pot before. DB said that there's been quite a few Whelks on the beach recently.
The shell below the eggs looks to have a very square end rather than a more randomly broken end which would make it Sand or Blunt Gaper and not Common Otter Shell.
Good to be out on the sands again and not too cold sheltered as we were by the wall from the south easterly wind.
Where to next? Back on the nature reserve at some time tomorrow - there's a Bullfinch to get a pic of you know.
 In the meantime let us know who's been stuck to the wall in your outback

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