Poor old Gilbert is getting restless. Despite the fact that there is more interest in wildlife than ever before, it seems that most of the so-called conservation organisations are losing interest in species. Instead they prefer to babble on about landscape scale conservation and ecosystem services (whatever they are). Could this be because most of their staff don't have any knowledge about species if they don't have four legs?
This is my attempt to encourage an interest in good old-fashioned natural history.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Back to primary school

Well that's the last time that I went rock pooling anyway. So when I saw an opportunity in the Southampton Natural History Society programme I was quite excited. Images sprang to mind of a hot, sunny day, pottering about in rock pools with my net, catching all manner of weird and wonderful fish and crabs.

But hang on a minute, there aren't any rock pools near Southampton, it's all mud or concrete! In fact I cannot think of any rock pools anywhere in Hampshire. Nevertheless a small group assembled at Calshot spit in cold, cloudy weather at what looked to me like high tide! After wandering along the shore looking at various plants, the tide eventually began to drop. There weren't any rock pools but there were a few pools and a few rocks! I didn't count everything that we saw by any means but I did manage to get 30 new species. Some of those where the photo's didn't come out too badly were:
Grey Top Shell Gibbula cineraria - quite common near the high tide mark.

Long-legged Spider Crab Macropodia rostrata. I'd never even heard of spider crabs before and I found them really fascinating. They are difficult to identify but fortunately a lady from the Southampton Oceanography Centre turned up and was able to confirm the species.

Sand Goby Pomatoschistus minutus.

The hermit crab Pagurus bernhardus - the photo doesn't do it justice.

Leathery Sea-squirt Styela clava - rather gross but also rather cool.

Blenny Lipophrys pholis - probably my favourite creature of the day.

So it wasn't quite the afternoon that I had imagined but it was good fun, and interesting to see what lived on a rather nondescript beach. Next year I must pick a hot, sunny afternoon and visit some real rock pools.

1 comment:

  1. PSL day out at Chesil...sometime next summer. Date tba, but hopefully it WILL go ahead! Chat to Patton, she has inside links.