11 Replies to “Chalk Cliff with Gull”

  1. Thanks, Adrian. I like the thought of myself abseiling – I guess I could do it if I had to – but I suspect I am past it – although I have just seen someone of about my age and build climbing up the cliffs at Rhossili so never say never. I would be more likely to do it to look at an interesting rock than a bird.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was just thinking it would have been an interesting shot even without the gull. I would say if the only of way getting to some interesting geological feature was down a cliff, you’d be looking for a rope!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jessica
    I don’t know if you will remember, but about two years ago I wrote to you asking what something was that I found on the beach.
    They looked like calcified tube worms, but they were all soft, very white and found by the thousands on our local beaches here in Victoria (and probably the millions on the Island!)
    After discussing it with you we decided that they must be the caclified tube worms, but I gotta admit, I wasn’t convinced!
    Well, I happened to stumble across something completely by coincidence about two weeks ago and I’ve been meaning to come back to your blog and tell you about it.
    It was a picture of a clam and it’s… SIPHON! I truly believe all those little white things are clam siphons that have washed ashore.
    I feel so complete.


  4. Hello Joe
    It is nice to hear from you again. I am glad that you feel you have now found the answer to your question but I am not sure I agree with your findings. In my original message to you on 21st February 2015 I did not suggest that the slimy tubes you had found in such numbers on the beach were calcareous tubes of worms. What I said was:
    “Thank you for sending the photos. Sadly, I seem unable to download them fully – possibly because the file size is too big for e-mail. However, from the small portion of the pictures that I can see, assuming the white long things are the mystery objects, I would hazard the guess that these tubes have been made by marine worms. Many species of marine polychaete worms live in tunnels in the soft sediments of the seabed. Sometimes these tunnels have a single entrance, and sometimes they are U-shaped with a front entrance and a back one. The tunnels can be lined with a layer of mucous-like substance, forming a long tube. In some species the tube can have sand particles attached, in others pieces of shell, and others are just bare slimy tube. Normally these tubes are buried within the sediments under water. They may protrude from the surface a bit. The worm might stick its feeding processes out of the tube to filter minute food particles from the water. If the seabed gets churned up by stormy seas, the tubes and worms are disturbed and brought to the surfaces of the seabed and wash around in the sea, becoming separated in the process. The worms can always burrow down into the mud and sand again but the mucous tubes that had lined their destroyed burrows float ashore with seaweed and other flotsam. I think this is the most likely explanation for your mystery objects on the beach but I am unable to say which species of worm the tubes belong to.”
    The tubes in your photos, which I have now been able to fully download, look like mucous tubes in which some marine worms live in the soft sediments. Although the tubes in your images look ‘naked’ they could have lost some attached particles, as some of these kinds of tubes can have sand grains or sea shell fragments attached depending on species. There are pictures of worm tubes washed ashore and also in life positions in the following posts on Jessica’s Nature Blog.
    It is true that clams have fleshy siphons, and siphons are tubes that superficially resemble the objects in your photographs – but it is difficult to envisage a natural situation where hundreds of siphons become detached and separated from the main body of the mollusc flesh to wash ashore en masse as you describe.
    Hope this helps with the mystery


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