Preparing for the Rockpool Summer - Lee Bay Training......

The first shore visit of the year took place on 8th March, a sunny early spring day, and a day for members old and new to get into gear for the 3rd Coastwise season of public rock-pooling which starts at Croyde on 10th April. Lee Bay was the location, chosen because its more sheltered shore and varied seaweed cover was likely to produce a richer fauna than more exposed west facing shores.  And so it proved.

A surprisingly wide range of animals were found, sea snails in their usual abundance, a modest tally of anemones: Beadlet, Strawberry, Snakelocks and Gem, and abundant crabs, particularly on the low shore, including one Furrowed Crab in berry photographed by Joyce Prescott.  Other invertebrates included a sea slug (Jorunna tomentosa), a Lugworm, both species of Cowry, a few Brittlestars, Painted Topshells, and Star Ascidian. The range of fish was surprising, few Blenny but two Rock Gobies, several good-sized Shore & Five-bearded Rockling, Shore Clingfish, two Corkwing Wrasse and a Worm Pipefish.  Those that could be transported were taken to the beach tank for closer inspection and knowledge-sharing by expert amateur marine biologist, and Rockpool Ramble project initiator, Paula Ferris before being returned; others were seen and often photographed where found.

Jim Monroe, who is helping train newcomers on the Coastwise Shore Safari (Coastwise-ese for rockpool rambles) team, took the opportunity to work with a group of about 20, whose subsequent enthusiasm will  hopefully result in many additions to the team leading our programme of public summer events. Meanwhile other members explored the shore in small groups.  Several members ranged across the shore to seek out the more elusive species.  Clive Symons, Rob Durrant and Chris Mandry shared their best finds with us and brought some fishy glamour to the day with their finds.

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