Follow in Nigel's Footsteps

Monday, 22 August 2016

Rock Pooling...

After a remarkable morning sea-watching at Seaton (12 Cory's Shearwaters was exceptional and totally unexpected), I took my son Jake rock pooling on the low tide at Lyme Regis just along the coast into Dorset.

Jake's shown a bit more interest in wildlife since we caught dozens of Shore Crabs at Dartmouth a few weeks ago so I thought I'd 'strike while the iron is hot' and try to cultivate his interest in marine animals - a great place to start his foray into natural history.

Shore Crab, Dartmouth: R.Harris
Shore Crab, female - Dartmouth: R.Harris
Lyme Regis is a beautiful English seaside town and unfortunately the rest of the country seems to agree with that making it an extremely difficult place to visit and park on a summer's day. Taking the Park 'n' Ride wasn't an option with all of our gear and luckily we managed to secure what appeared to be the last space in the car park on the western side of the town, close to the rock pools. We arrived on the retreating tide to find the area already awash with people doing exactly the same thing - so we set about finding anything we could.


Rock Samphire, a common umbelifer
along the coast at the moment.
Field Bindweed adds a splash of pastel colour
Common Periwinkle Littorina littorea
Flat Top Shell Gibbula umbilicalis
Dog Whelk Nucella lapillus, yellow form
Common Limpet Patella vulgata
Best of all was this fantastic little Hermit Crab Pagurus bernhardus - very shy though, didn't want to come out of its shell any further than this.

Hermit Crab Pagurus bernhardus, peeping out
of its Periwinkle home
Green Leaf Worm Eulalia clavigera
We also found masses of Snakelocks Anemones, by far the most common species at Lyme although one or two Bead Anemones were also spotted.

Snakelocks Anemone Anemonia viridis
Normal bright green variety with purple
tips to the tentacles
Snakelocks Anemone Anemonia viridis
Snakelocks Anemone Anemonia viridis
Brown variety, thought by some to be a different species
Found lots of different seaweeds too - rock pools are a riot of colour when you look closely...

Serrated Wrack Fucus serratus
Very common along the lower shore region
Serrated Wrack Fucus serratus
Oarweed  Laminaria digitata
Sugar Kelp Saccharina latissima
Sea Lettuce Ulva lactuca - looks a bit sad out of water
Not sure what this one is but will
endeavour to find out.
Not sure about this one either - still learning!

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