Thursday, 14 August 2008

Shoreham Beach Marine Week Event

Last Monday (11th August) I ran an event for the Friends of Shoreham Beach for Marine Week. This was an inter-tidal session on a small beach inside Shoreham Harbour. Protected it makes an idea beach for this type of event, both for the variety of creatures and the safety of the participants.
We found a wide range of animals life including beadlet sea anemones, edible winkle, limpet, dog whelk, numerous shore crabs, sea slater, amphipods, sand mason worms, rag worm, blenny and goby (fish)

Beadlet Anemone

Chiton (or coat-of-mail shell)

Common shore crab
Goby and juvenile shore crabs

There were various marine birds such as turnstones, dunlin, cormorant, terns and this egret.

We mingled with the visitors to the events and answered questions ansd pointed out things of interest. We set a few tanks and containers up at the top of the beach to house a few animals temporarily and discussed these before they were retrned to the tide pools. There was a lot of interest and many of the people said they would come back and explore the beach themselves - which is really the main aim of such an event, raising awareness and encouraging people to enguage with their coastline.

Catch Up

Due to the large amount of urban wildlife work I have been doing over the last few months I have rather neglected this blog. So I thought it was time I caught up a bit.

3rd May
A common seal was reported up the Arun River past Amberly castle by the railway crossing.
The common seal has a definite forehead and is more dog-like in profile than our other UK seal the Grey Seal. The other difference is that the grey seals nostrils are parallel while the common seals are V shaped and with the muzzle look distinctively Y-shaped. We do have a handful of seal sightings upriver each year, usually in the Ouze and the Arun. On the river Adur, the occasional seal visitor seems to be restricted to the estuary region between the harbour mouth and the Toll Bridge.

While both grey and common seals visit Sussex waters, it is the common seal that is most frequently reported (out of the sightings where a species has been identifiable). Almost all seals that have been specifically identified in upper reaches of these rivers have been common seal.

15 June 2008
Another seal, probably a common seal, was spotted in the River Adur lower estuary, first of all on the Sussex Wharf side of the river in the early evening from 8:30 pm. It then swam over to the scrapyard side (east of Monteum, where the fishing boats moor up and unload fish) and was seen for 45 minutes chasing after the fish in the river.

Dolphin sightings have been poor this year off Sussex, just a few. We were lucky to get a sighting during National Whale and Dolphin Watch last week in June (the only one for the south coast east of Devon). This was a sighting a sighting of a bottlenose dolphin close to the shore near Shoreham Harbour.