Thursday, August 12, 2010

A diary entry of several years ago described two families standing in drizzle waiting for the afternoon rock-pooling session, adults noticeably less keen than kids. One family visits the area several times a year, always keen to try new activities, rock-pooling remaining favourite. Jake, the keenest, has just been picked to attend a Gifted and Talented Nature Summer School run by The Natural History Museum. This week, very low tides brought several new finds under rocks not normally exposed. We have much work to identify new crustaceans, several translucent swimming species similar to Prawns, a few grey species that squiggle about in the mud under rocks, as well as intermediate, dark one with cream stripe.

Best find was ostensibly a strand of brown Boot-lace Seaweed were it not for independent sinuous movement in the clear water. Close examination in the aquarium revealed two tiny bead eyes set back from a long snout, like snapped end of Boot-lace Weed but similar to Seahorse & Pipefish heads. Eventually, we found a tiny, completely translucent dorsal fin to confirm Worm Pipefish, example of most perfect camouflage.

Since Mid-July, overnight rain has brought fresh flushes of creamy white Field and Horse Mushrooms with orange peel Chanterelles in green mossy woods. Recently fledged second broods of Blue Tits & Great Tits blundering and buzz about in inept flight; very vulnerable at this stage, hence large clutches of eggs laid to compensate for losses.

Highlight of the week has to be a Stoat emerging periodically from a dry-stone wall to scamper and writhe frantically along a sunny bank, long, white belly contrasting with tan coat as it twisted in green grass. For a video of this well documented but not clearly understood ‘dance’, Google ‘crazy stoat’ and select either the BBC or ‘Wild About Britain’ links.

Wildlife Wales Activities:

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