Monday, 27 July 2015

Its all happening under the pier

The Safari spotted a most welcome returnee on the drive up the hill, the Peregrine was back on the tower after an absence of several months.
Our planned whale and dolphin watched was totally scuppered by the weather, visibility in the totally dreek conditions was only a few hundred yards. But after that we had an event for young children and their parents on the beach up by the pier. While we waited for them to arrive the weather started to clear a bit. They arrived in dribs and drabs and as we waited for the last few to arrive we chatted to the others and it wasn't long before the subject of killer gulls came up. There were some concerned parents of not much more than toddlers in the group - they've really believed the Daily Fail's rubbish - and here we were stood around with at least 50 of the ravening feathered monsters hanging around.
We told them about the different species found on our beach - more than the whole of Australia - and how the lessening amount of brown showed how they aged. We pointed out the Black Headed Gulls brown heads and looked at the silvery mantle of the Herring Gulls but then noticed one of them wasn;t quite 'right', far too dark but not a Lesser Black Back Gull either. It was (possibly) the long staying Yellow Legged Gull that's been hanging round here for a few years.
Once on the beach and now not worried about any species of gull no matter which they started their beachcombing. Being little ones we'd told them not to touch any jellyfish, it wasn't long before the shout of "jellyfish" went up for along the beach. Oh my it was a real whopper! A Lion's Mane Jellyfish nearly a metre across the widest visible tentacles. 
The beach wasn't over-exciting so they wandered down under the piers where there are pools of water around the legs. Minutes later the firsts small Green Shore Crabs and Brown Shrimps were in the pots. What we hadn't realised was there were quite a lot of Sabellaria 'reefs' amongst the piles.
This wasn't the best find of the day though. One of the little ones caught something quite unusual, some kind of Isopod the like of which we've never seen before. It was very thin about a centimetre long with a pair of long antennae almost as long as the body. Wish we could have been able to get a pic. We have our marine biologist friend DB on the case, wonder what she'll be able to tell us tomorrow.
All good stuff!
Where to next? More sea staring - weather permitting
In the meantime let us know what's amongst the piles in your outback.

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