Monday, 24 July 2017

Year 10 explore the coastal geography of Shoreham Beach

Year 10 Class from St Andrews School visited Shoreham Beach over 4 days studying Coastal Geography.
The students used raging poles and clinometers to measure the profile of the beach, starting at the waters edge and measuring subsequent berms created by the waves.

The clinometers measures the difference of the angle between each pole, allowing the students to plot the changes in the incline as they make their way up the beach.

The students also selected 10 random pebbles from a quadrat placed on the beach in each section to calculate the average pebble size.
The students also marked the position of the strandline, sea weeds and also the shingle plant communities at the top of the beach.
This was followed by exploration of the shingle plant ecosystem. We also discussed the local and global threats to this beach and the shingle habitat including climate change, coastal erosion and sea level rise.

There are many threats to shingle habitat one of which is compaction of the shingle by beach visitors, which has led to a path at the top of the beach with no plants growing.  Recently a boardwalk has been constructed on a section of this path. 
The second task we set the students was to create a beach profile of this path looking at 'Sphere of Influence'.

One transect would look at the compacted path, the second transect would focus on the new boardwalk.
The task was to see if the boardwalk has encouraged regeneration of the shingle plants in the boardwalk section.
The students took measurements every 8 metres. At each point, from the centre, the students would measure north until they reached the nearest shingle plant.

They would repeat the same to the south.

We are looking forward to a summary of the students data as this will be very useful to our work on the reserve.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Herring gull chicks test flights

All around my home there is the sound of demanding herring gull chicks as their are several nests nearby. I also keep a close on the nest, on the roof tops behind our bungalow, between the stacks of the chimney.
They have reared three chicks, perfectly camouflaged on the roof tops.
Today they have started to practice flight in earnest, leaping from the ridge of the roof and landing further down the tiles, before marching back up to the top and having another go.

As soon as one of the chicks start to exercise its wings, the parents go into defence mode, shouting at anyone or anything that come close.
Or dives on any potential intruder

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Grey Seal Normans Bay

I received a seal sighting, off Normans Bay East Sussex, 2.45pm from Darren accompanied by a short video which clearly showed this to be a grey seal. The seal was swimming and then exhibiting bottling behaviour - floating horizontally with head above the water.
The seal appeared to be curious and inquisitive and aware of Darren and his party on the beach.
It kept bobbing up every time Darren's party sat down. The sea ranged between 25 and 100 metres from the shore. The area it was swimming in was very flat shallow sand exposed when the tide is out when it was closest to the beach.

At times swimming fast, Darren estimated 'the seal covered a distance of a couple of hundred metres within 20 seconds or so'.
It is unclear at present if grey seals have become more common off Sussex over the last 5 years or whether mobile phones (with cameras) mean more sightings are accompanied by a photo that we can use to make a positive species identification.

Seal Video of Sighting Link