A walk at low tide

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.

View of the beach with the Solway Firth and Scottish hills
View of the beach with the Solway Firth and Scottish hills

I cannot remember when I last learned so many facts in such a short time.

Baby mussels, barnacles and dog whelks
Baby mussels, barnacles and dog whelks





















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.

Honeycomb worm colony
Honeycomb worm colony

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.


2 thoughts on “A walk at low tide

  1. What an interesting walk! Sennen Beach, where we go on holiday in West Cornwall, doesn’t have such fascinating inhabitants … mostly they are local or holidays maker surfers … There are some rock pools but not a lot in then … though sometimes there are Moon Jellyfish on the sand – a fairly common kind of jellyfish, transparent, colourless, with purple threads inside which are its innerds and reproductive organs!!

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