Yesterday and the day before were fantastic Rockpool Rambles!
It has been a couple of really good low tides, 0.26m and 0.21m, which has allowed us to get right down to the kelp beds, and find many more creatures that we don’t normally see, and its always much more fun when its a beautiful sunny day!
Towards the start of these rambles, in the large shallow pools, we found all of the usual suspects….
….Plenty of cushion starfish, in their beautiful oranges and greeny-blues…..
….Beadlet anemones, with their tentacles tucked in tight, showing off their tiny blue beads and blue basal plate….
….A Strawberry anemone or two….
….probably hundreds of sea snails….
…. and lots of hermit crabs. Big ones and tiny ones, in brown winkle shells, purple painted top shells, or bright yellow flat periwinkles….
These charismatic little crabs always go down well with the younger visitors, and I think they might be one of my favourites too.
As we start moving down the shore we find greater numbers and species of creatures. After the initial area of large, shallow rockpools, we move down a gully in the rock towards the low tide point. This gully has a slight overhang on one side creating a perfect damp shady area for creatures to shelter in until the tide comes back in.
Here are some of the typical creatures we find along this gully….
….A Cowrie shell, showing off its bright orange mantle. We often find two species of Cowrie along this gully, the three spotted Cowrie and the Arctic Cowrie. The above picture is of a three spotted Cowrie.
….Broad Clawed Porcelain crabs. We tend to find quite a few of these hiding on the underside of large rocks. When in the water they appear almost fluffy as they have lots of hairs along their legs and claws…..
….Snakelocks anemones. These anemones have tentacles that are a brilliant green colour with purple tips. They are this colour because of a type of photosynthetic algae that grows in the tentacles…..
…..and Furrowed crabs. These are beautiful crabs, often with a blue tinge to their shells. I think they look a bit like the body-builders of the crab world.
As we reach the kelp beds the shallow rocky pools and the overhangs are replaced with large rocks covered in sea weed, and then the kelp bed itself. At this point on the shore every rock that gets turned oven has a multitude of creatures hiding beneath it, from crabs and starfish, to fish, worms and sea squirts.
Above is a tiny Squat Lobster, no bigger than a little finger nail. These creature are able to move very quickly using their tail which they keep tucked under their bodies.
A spiny starfish, slowly walking over a cushion starfish, to the right are some white keel worms, and below it is a small patch of a sea squirt called a star ascidian.
A green sea urchin, a relative of a starfish, found underneath large rocks, its a wonder they don’t break their spines as they can wedge themselves right under.
This fish is called a Cornish Sucker fish. They are amazing little things. We often find them under a rock that is almost completely dry, these guys don’t necessarily need to be cover with sea water to breath. They can take in oxygen through their skin and are covered with a slime layer to keep themselves damp.
The fish in Sam’s bucket (above) is called a Topknot, its the only type of flat fish that can be found in rockpools, albeit ones at the very low tide mark.
The last creature I’m going to show that we found on our spring tide rambles, is a type of sea slug. At the moment we haven’t been able to identify this sea slug. Its very small, and grey and mottled in colour. The image is of its underside and you can just about see its mouth.
We all love rockpooling, even more so on spring tides. The rockpools at Wembury are more packed with life than anywhere else I’ve rambled.