The Safari wasn't short of an idea for the #30DaysWild project today, we had a family event on the beach at the north end of town. Before we went up town we had a few minutes on Patch 2 immediately found a year bird. As we approached the wall we could see a flock of geese going north, were they Canada Geese or Grey Lag Geese? Either would be a patch tick if not particularly over exciting. They turned out to be about 40 Canada Geese (P2 #56). Checking our records later we discovered they'd been omitted from the spreadsheet since early January so become year bird number #170 and Nature Reserve bird #91. A Grey Seal miles out was soon found on the carpet-calm sea and we heard the screaming of Swifts (#57) for the first time on the patch. Looking up we watched the male chase the female in a real test of speed until she let him mate with her tumbling down through the air until the deed was done and they broke apart before they hit the ground. A short but productive session.
We drove up the Prom and the families arrived at the appointed hour and we were soon down on the sand with our nets and buckets.
After the cold and windy weekend today's weather was real tonic, it actually felt like summer had arrived at last which always makes an enjoyable hour or so on the beach much more fun.
The tubs began to fill up with different shaped and sized shells, Pod Razors and Mussels being the most common. The Masked Crab population seemed to have taken a bit of hit in the stormy weather last week, there were lots of dead ones in various states of dismemberment and almost all that could be sexed were males. A couple of the children were brave enough to have a small Green Shore Crab crawl across their hands.
Finder extraordinaire was our colleague from Children's Services RK. First she called us over to show us a jellyfish which turned out to be a small Compass Jellyfish and was still alive - the children loved seeing in pulsating as it swam round their tub. Shortly afterwards she came running over with something unidentified in her net - a Sea Gooseberry, and once that first one was found everybody started noticing them all over the place.The kids' favourites were the large Edible Whelk shells that they could hear the sea in.
RK had an ace up her sleeve, or at least in her net, a baby Flounder or Plaice she'd spotted scuttling across the sand minutes before we started packing up. Always nice to get a fish in the tub for the kids to see...and it's a tick in the box on our Beach Bingo sheet.Where to next? More sandy shenanigans tomorrow hopefully.
In the meantime let us know who's been leaping into the buckets in your outback.