Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Gee it was nippy out on the beach

The Safari was able to get out on Patch 1 for a look at the sea before work for the first time in ages yesterday. It was only a short visit but proved to be a very productive one. It was cold out there only half an hour earlier we'd come out to find 'frost ferns' covering the car. Don't how they are formed but they sure are beautiful.
There wasn't much happening as the tide started to ebb, just a couple of hundred Common Scoters and a Cormorant were out there until a large bird came in to view to the south as it drew near and broadside it was obvious it was a Great North Diver (93, P2 #21), no chance of a pic for the Photo Challenge though. A good find as it's the first we've seen anywhere since 2014. Happy days!
By lunchtime the tide was out and we saw there were a few Common Scoters not far behind the surf but still a long way off due to the expanse of beach. Time to swap the scope for the camera and don the wellies and get out there. As soon as we got on the beach the wind hit us full on and by crikey it was cruel. In a nearby runnel were a couple of Common Gulls and a handful of Black Headed Gulls hunkered down as close to the sand as they could. As we approached they stood up and cautiously watched us pass by.
Down on the water's edge we soon discovered the scoters were actually just out of lens range., at least in the gloomy conditions, hopefully later in the week there'll be a bit of sunshine and the scoters will be just as closer, or better still closer.
It would probably have helped had we not been shaking so much in the brisk cold wind.
Wandering back across the beach we saw that there were more than usual of Curved Razor Shells.
Back at the base of the wall there were several clumps of seaweed, one of which had a Lesser Spotted Catshark mermaid's purse tangled up in it.
There were also several pieces of Kelp which is quite unusual to find washed up on our beach. This one's frond is almost totally covered in a colony of Bryozoans.
If you 'click on the pic' to enlarge them you'll see a bit of a nightmare; strands of plastic/nylon from fishing gear or rope. Every clump of seaweed, and there were hundreds of clumps, had at least two or three such strands, some short others long and tangled throughout the clump. It's a sobering thought that every piece of plastic ever made still exists unless it has been burned, and much of that has the potential to reach the sea where it breaks down into ever small pieces - it doesn't biodegrade or rot away just gets smaller and becomes a problem for all manner of wildlife and ultimately us if it collects toxins and then enters our food chain via the plankton. Best to make sure it never reaches the sea in the first place, buy less to reduce demand and recycle as much as as possible! Second best is to join your local Love My Beach group and help pick it up. 
Where to next? More Patch 2 fun and games hopefully.
In the meantime let us know who's all washed up in your outback.

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