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.

Looking across the border

This week’s photo challenge from the Daily post is Earth.

Across the Solway Firth
Across the Solway Firth

The photo I have chosen for this challenge was taken through the window of a moving train.  The Cumbrian Coastal railway line gives views across the Solway Firth to Scotland.  Early in the morning with the sun low in the sky all sorts of details were visible to the eye.  Cliffs could be seen.  The phone camera I use does not provided such detail, but there is light shining on Criffel.

Today is the day for the A to Z reflections link up.  Although this blog took part and received new followers, I am not providing a reflections post here.  Instead there will be one on Sue’s Trifles.