A warm sunny evening and a low spring tide, the perfect conditions for exploring the shore. The venue, Roa Island with it’s boulder and muddy beach and a couple of man made structures providing addtional habitat types. The top of the beach is composed mainly of large boulders with barnacles, wracks and large patches of blue mussels. On the middle of the shore, shore crabs, edible periwinkles, and dog whelks with thousands of eggs were all very common and here three or four European oysters were recorded. The underside of the jetty provides homes for clumps of mussels, sea squirts, hermit crabs and at the seaward end of the jetty a couple of European cowries were spotted. Moving further down the shore and searching beneath the boulders revealed both broad and long clawed porcelain crabs, chitons and we were suprised to find common brittle stars, an animal no where near as common in the channel as it was some years ago. Other inhabitants of this lower part of the shore were grey top shells, butterfish, common stars and colourful patches of both green and orange sponge. In the shallow pools left by the tide the tubes of peacock worms stood upwards from the mud and tiny anemones were to be seen amongst the stones. As the tide reached it’s lowest point we were able to see peacock worms with extended tentacles collecting food passing by in the water. We had spent a couple of very enjoyable hours recording and photographing in excess of thirty different species of plant and animal on this very small area of shore. Many thanks to Lewis for organising the event.
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