Popular Saunton Shore Safari finds mice and spiders ! Read more........................

Overall, this Coastwise event attracted enthusiastic and interested families and there were 70+ visitors attended this event. Many seemed happy exploring in family groups and returning with their ‘catch’ for identification and discussion and there seemed to be lots of interaction between the Coastwise members and visitors. On leaving, people expressed their thanks for an interesting and enjoyable event.

By 10.30 a good number of families had been given their pre-safari talk on the walkway to the beach and headed towards the Coastwise demo table.

Mavis Symmons and Jim Monroe led two groups of approx 6 families each. Meanwhile ‘seekers’ were out hunting for specimens and soon a crab (thanks to Roger Cole) and seaweed with bryozoans were added to the aquarium on the Coastwise table, where the bryozoan could be viewed in action under the field microscope.

Whelk eggs and a ‘wrestle’ of whelks were found on rocks nearby. These were easy to access and the adults found these particularly interesting. Beadlet and Snakelocks were also found, and further down the shore, abundant Glaucus Pimplets, common only on the south west’s north shores.

Soon, families were bringing in crabs, fish (Blenny and possibly Goby) and small prawns. A Beadlet anemone managed to find a home in the tank and promptly headed for one of the two shore crabs. Soon a Hermit crab was added.  By this time, many of the adult and children were congregating around the Coastwise table with much curiosity and some surprise at the variety of life to be found. Coastwise members were on hand to answer questions and stimulate discussion.

Matt Hill was the first to spot a Sea Mouse, one of three found alive but stranded on the shore, which proved to be the stars of the day. Rob Jutsum pointed out a sea spider, rarely seen but this time conspicuous swimming in a rock-pool.  In the last sortie of the day Matt also found a beautiful tiny nudibranch, Facelina coronata, a late bonus for the photographers present.

Meanwhile Marjorie & Brian Heath did their duty fetching fresh water for the tank and rescuing some of the growing number of shore crabs appearing via the buckets of enthusiastic families. At all times the parents and youngsters acted responsibly and treated the animals well.

The tide started to turn at around 12.30 and family parties started back up the beach and towards lunch. Clive appeared at this late stage with a very impressive spider crab that made a guest appearance to the wonderment of many visitors and Coastwise members. After a short stint of photos and display, Clive returned the crab to its more natural habitat.

The success of this event must be credited to the beautiful Saunton beach and its marine life, to the Shore Safari team members, and to the favourable weather.

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