Having seen a Tweet from @solwaywalker about a guided walk on the part of the Cumbrian coast, which has just been made a Marine Conservation Zone, I booked two places. It was a sunny evening with a strong wind on the beach.
I cannot remember when I last learned so many facts in such a short time.
Mussels begin as plankton and then attach themselves to rocks with two proteins, which form an effective glue. Winkles are herbivores. Dog whelks of varying colours feed on the barnacles and mussels using mechanical and chemical methods to break down the shells.
Sponges and sea anemones are animals. Some worms build themselves homes using grains of sand. There are honeycomb worms and mason worms.
Lug worms live in burrows under the sand. They have haemoglobin, which makes them look red. (I saw one rapidly retreating into its burrow.)
There were some creatures, which were well camouflaged; they looked like part of a rock. A magnifying glass helped us see some of the smaller animals and details of others, such as a sea gooseberry.
A common whelk shell (found higher up the beach than its usual habitat) was the home of a hermit crab. All the other crabs we saw were dead, having been preyed on by sea birds.
I shall be looking at other beaches with more curiosity in future.