beachcombing

The first weekend after the recent storms and a bright blue sky meant that it was time for some beach combing. The beach at Praa Sands looked glorious in the sun, but we were probably a little late for the serious stuff (if there was any to begin with). So no dead Triggerfish, Columbus crabs or suitcases filled with cocaine. Instead, lots of bits of plastic and rope and some Velella remnants and empty Dogfish (or Small-spotted catshark Scyliorhinus canicula) egg cases. Of course also Common goose barnacles Lepas anatifer:

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More interesting was a vat with (dead) Devonshire-cup-corals Caryophyllia smithii attached:

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Damage to the coast was evident:

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By-the-wind-sailor

IMG_6629A short walk on a Tuesday afternoon on Holywell Beach west of Newquay: dark, bleak, with a bit of rain and a lot of wind. The upside was that we had the beach pretty much to ourselves. Holywell is named after a well in a cave (see here), and I was quite curious to see it. Unfortunately, although we had a look in some smaller crevices, we seemed to have missed the main cave…Ah well, a good excuse to go back some time.IMG_6635No rock pools here, but there was some good beach combing to do with this stormy sea. For the first time I found the By-the-wind-sailor Velella velella, a Siphonophoran: a colony of specialized polyps, with short tentacles underneath and a little sail on top. They are related to the Portuguese Man-of-War. These organisms live on the open ocean, but can be blown onto shores in storms (mass stranding are common on the West Coast of the USA):IMG_6668IMG_6672The pollution of our seas with plastics is a big problem and becomes very apparent when surveying the strandline. Depressing stuff:IMG_6698

Finally, some washed up crates with a Common goose barnacle Lepas anatifera attached:IMG_6705IMG_6703