With the start of summer, we have a lot of practical events coming up for you! We begin with two events celebrating World Environment Day:
Friday 5th June 14:30-18:00: Gordon is leading the ‘Morecambe Bay Safari’ at the Royal Hotel, Heysham. This is followed by a guided beach walk. Meeting organised by MBP; £5 admission, booking essential: morecambebay.org.uk/events/marine-life-bay
Friday 5th June 18:00 to 18:00 6th June: Members of the MCS will be helping out at the Stanah BioBlitz (Wyre Estuary Country Park, River Road, Stanah, FY5 5LR). We will have a stand at this event on the Saturday, but local members will be available for much of the rest of the event, helping to ID marine life from two boat trawls of the estuary itself.
Following this we have our first meeting of the year at Capernwray Dive Centre:
Wednesday 10th June 19:30-20:30Morecambe Bay Cycle Way by Louise Smail. This will look at the new cycle way which now runs along the whole length of the Bay. Admission £2, all welcome. Download our poster (PDF, 102kB), or view the location in Google Maps.
Saturday 20th June 11:00 to 11:00 21st June: The Formby BioBlitz will be attended by members of the National MCS
Sefton Coastal Path Part 1: Linear walk from Waterloo (Crosby) to Formby
Saturday 22nd March 2014
Meeting at Ainsdale Station car park, Chesterfield Rd, Ainsdale at 09:50am (in time to buy a ticket and catch the 10:07am train to Waterloo). The car park is free for all rail users. Grid Ref SD 311122
The walk is a mixture of tarmac surfaces (minor roads, promenade and cycle tracks), rough tracks, footpaths , sand dunes and the beach. The distance is about 8 miles, with the option of an extension near Formby, The route includes Antony Gormley’s statues at Crosby and varied coastal and inland scenery (a lengthy inland detour is necessary to avoid the Altcar Army Range).
Return is by train from Formby Station to Ainsdale Station. Trains are at 07, 22, 37 and 52 minutes past the hour.
Bring food and drink for the day, waterproofs and sunglasses (depending on the weather)
Footwear – walking boots or sturdy shoes are recommended, some mud is possible.
Return train tickets are currently £4.15 (adult).
There is a toilet at Aisndale station which can be opened for rail users. Also toilets at Waterloo Interchange (30p as 5p 10p or 20p coins). There is also a toilet at Hall Road on the route of the walk (30p, 10p coins only) .
Maps Landranger no 108 (Liverpool) or Explorer Nos. 275 and 285.
Walk: Along minor roads, across fields then along the Ribble Way to Liverpool Rd, Penwortham. Distance about 8 miles.
Return: Bus number 2 or 2A from Penwortham Library to entrance to the Brickcroft (near the junction of Hall Lane and Liverpool Rd.) There are two buses an hour.
Bring: A hot drink and some food. There is a bakery opposite the entrance of the Brickcroft.
Footwear: Walking books recommended – some parts of the route are likely to be muddy.
WCs: The visitor centre at the Brockcroft is usually only open in the afternoon (12:30 to 16:00). Booths oin Liverpool Rd, Longton, PR4 5NB has a customer WC and a cafe (on the RH side of your route if driving from Preston)
One of our mystery organisms (pictured) was a parasite on one of the juvenile spratts caught in the rock pools. Lewis had narrowed it down to probably being a copepod, and this was confirmed by David Fenwick and Mike Moon, who identified the species as Lernaeenicus sprattae. Commonly seen on Spratts in UK waters, it gets its name from its preferred feeding mode, attached to the eye of the unfortunate fish. Extensive parasitism is possible, and this can result in considerable deterioration in the health of individual fish. The two green appendages are egg sacks.
Some of the other organisms featured in the talk are shown int he gallery below, alongside some photos taken underwater on the same site:
We had a very enjoyable visit to the beach at Roa Island on 24th August July, the weather was super, the water (fairly) warm, and there was plenty to see; so a great success! We will be looking at some of the photos taken at our meeting in August (see our diary for up to date details), and putting these into context of our long-standing interest in the marine life at Roa, and the Bay area in general.
Thanks to everyone for coming along – we look forward to seeing you again in August!
Above: Photograph of the Roa Island lifeboat station at sunset, with Piel Castle in the background, taken Wednesday 19 June 2013
Our next monthly meeting will take place at Roa Island, a site which has been visited and surveyed by our group for at least twenty years! The meeting, from 18:30 on Wednesday 24 July, is an informal shore walk to coincide with an exceptionally low tide, so we hope to see a lot of sea life exposed on the beach and in small pools that we would normally have to dive so see.
Just so the divers aren’t left out, we have a small number of high water dives planned in the run up to the shore walk*. The first of these was on the 19th June in near perfect conditions. Diving close by the pier and lifeboat station we saw a number of the same creatures underwater, that we will get to see exposed in a few weeks time.
At our August meeting (back at Capernwray Dive Centre) we hope to bring together the shore walk and dives (and maybe earlier survey work) to get a ‘hands on’ picture of life above and below the tide at this very interesting local site.
Please note: The walk in July is suitable for (accompanied) children, but be aware that the beach is very muddy, and you should wear shoes or boots that you are happy to get wet and dirty. If you bring a camera – best to have an underwater housing for it in case… You are free to explore, but most people stay within site of the pier, so it is not important if you arrive late.
Journey time from Lancaster – about one and a half hours, all welcome!
* Please note that dives at Roa Island are very dependent upon the weather, so there are a number of possible dates in the diary that we shall ‘cherry pick’ from…
Meet: Warton Crag car park on Crag Rd Warton at 10:00am. This large, free, car-park is situated in an former quarry.Grid Ref: SD 492723. Please share cars if possible. There are no public toilets at the car park, or in Warton Village.
Route: Leave M6 at J35. Take A601(M) to J35a. Take A6 North. After about 0.6 miles turn left on a minor road to Warton. Turn left along Main Street then right into Crag Rd. Warton Crag car park is on the right, approx 0.5 miles along the road.
Walk: A circular walk around Warton Crag and Silverdale taking in Crag Foot, Quaker’s Stang, Jenny Brown’s Point and Jack Scout. A mixture of footpaths, bridleways, embankments, shoreline and some minor roads. Varied landscape, superb views and attractive woodland.
Distance: About 9 miles depending upon the wishes of those coming and the weather. The highest point is Warton Crag (163m) and lowest is the seashore,. Quite a lot of ups and downs with a few short steep sections.
Bring: Food for lunch and a drink. At least 1L of liquid if the weather is hot. Walking boots are recommended – as the limestone quarry can be slippery when wet.
Maps: OS Landranger no 97 Kendal, or Explorer OL no 7, Lakes SE.
An inch of snow greeted early risers in Lancaster on Saturday morning – but the weather held off with just a little wind-blown snow to add to the atmosphere on the walk. This was a repeat visit by the group to Walney – (last visited in summer 2009).
Many thanks to Gordon for organising a very pleasant day out!