30 Days Wild – Day 5 – Rocky Seashore

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_05After four days in which my 30 Days, 30 Habitats challenge has looked foolish, today we have something special. It’s time to dive into a rockpool or two…

Rockpools at Charlestown

Rockpools at Charlestown

When I was young I used to read a comic strip in The Daily Mirror called ‘The Perishers’. Every summer the characters went on holiday to the seaside, and every summer I was absorbed by the ongoing tale of the animals in a rockpool, and their obsession with the annual arrival of ‘The Eyeballs in the Sky’.

A typical rockpool

A typical rockpool

In reality, this was the family dog that came and stared in. I’ve always loved taking my own place as ‘the eyeballs’.

What never happens when you go rockpooling is that the first stone you turn over reveals a really great rockpool find.But that’s exactly what happened today with this beautiful Shore Crab.

Shore Crab

Shore Crab

Crustaceans are always a key part of any rockpooling experience, and there were shrimps and a few of these Hermit Crabs.

Hermit Crab

Hermit Crab

Another common seashore crustacean, one that is easily overlooked, is the omnipresent barnacle. I’ve not technically included a photo of any, but most photos here feature them encrusting the rocks.

It’s easy to assume these are molluscs like snails and limpets, but they are actually in the same group as lobsters and crabs.

Limpets

Limpets

Limpets look like barnacles, but are actually gastropods, the same group as slugs and snails. Here we have one colonising another.

There were several small fish but they were generally hard to photograph. This little Goby managed to stay still for a minute though.

Goby

Goby

One of my favourite rockpool animals is the Anemone. Named for the vague resemblance to the flower of the same name, they are related to corals.

The blob... a Beadlet Anemone

The blob… a Beadlet Anemone

The shore was covered with these Beadlet Anemones. At this point they look like 50s horror icon ‘The Blob’, an anonymous lump of red jelly. When the water level gets low, they look like this with their tentacles withdrawn. But once the tide comes back in the tentacles come out and they look more like this.

Snakelocks Anemone

Snakelocks Anemone

This is a Snakelocks Anemone, not a Beadlet, and it cannot withdraw its arms. But since it was present in the pools I can include it to show what anemones look like in their glory.

Herring Gull on nest

Herring Gull on nest

It’s hard in a rockpool. The animals trapped there are vulnerable as the water levels drop, and with nesting gulls around they can must hide and hope to avoid predation.

Rock Pipit

Rock Pipit

Not an obvious predator, there were a few Rock Pipits about the beach picking up any little insects in the seaweeds.

Ever get the feeling you're being followed?

Ever get the feeling you’re being followed?

At one point a pipit was basically following me along the shore, probably because my big feet were disturbing more flies!

Getting closer

Getting closer

The more he realised I was no threat, the closer he came. At one point he was a mere six feet back.

That’s it from the rockpools. I haven’t done them the justice of identifying all the seaweeds and other algae that form the foundation of the entire habitat, so for that I apologise!

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4 Responses to 30 Days Wild – Day 5 – Rocky Seashore

  1. Pingback: 30 Days Wild 2016 – 30 Days, 30 Habitats – The tally | Why watch wildlife?

  2. johnswin says:

    A great post David, thanks for the photos. I never knew that the Blob (Beadlet Anemone) was a type of anemone. How does it catch and eat its prey?

    • David says:

      Anemones basically wait for something to drift into their poisonous tentacles. The toxins are really nasty, though none in this country will harm a human.

      The fish swims in and gets a neurotoxin coated harpoon in it, gets paralysed, then shovelled into the gut for slow digestion!

  3. Tony says:

    If any of your readers want a blog to follow on this very subject, it’s well worth following Heather Buttivant’s Cornish Rockpools, link as below.

    https://cornishrockpools.com/

    Best Wishes

    Tony Powell and naturestimeline

I welcome thoughts, comments and questions, so please feel free to share anything at all. Thanks, David

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