Spoonbill and Friend

I love to take short video clips. I have many of them and they can be viewed with perfect clarity on my desktop computer screen. They even look good when they are first uploaded to posts on my blog and viewed from the admin side in the Media folder. However, once they are actually inserted into the post, they become too pixelated to view. This is very disappointing. I have contacted WordPress on a couple of occasions and it does not seem to be anything to do with their software. I have even tried posting them on You Tube and the same thing happens. I have concluded that it is something to do with my latest camera. I have experimented with conversions to other file formats without success. I think it is something to do with the specific way this particular camera captures videos – I mostly use the zoom to get fine detail. This is confirmed by the fact that the short clip shown here of a spoonbill and accompanying egret, taken with an earlier camera in Cairns 2011 seems OK.

The Beach Below The Spittles 2

Pieces of shale on the beach with holes made by piddocks

After the beach boulders and scattered rusty metal debris, there is sequence of flat rock platforms exposed by the retreating water. They are riddled with holes made by the boring bivalves known as piddocks, some burrows just have empty shells in them but others are still occupied by the living molluscs that squirt water a foot or more into the air at frequent intervals. A velvet swimming crab mooches around the edges of the platforms, and sand tube and mud tube dwelling worms abound on all the surfaces.

The Beach Below The Spittles

Rusty painted metal junk on the seashore with rocks

I discovered an interesting stretch of shoreline when I visited Lyme Regis yesterday. The cliff location is known as The Spittles and it is situated immediately east of the new sea wall. The tide was going out but not as far as in March 2010. Enough to disclose an array of boulders with scattered fossils, broken coloured glass, and rusting metal. The man-made junk resulted from a major landslide in 2008 when the contents of an old town rubbish tip (which had been in existence from 1920 to 1973) cascaded shore-wards with the rocks and mud. The junk continues to wear out of the cliff face to the present time.

There are some interesting items to be found. The rusting metal components, often with remnants of paint, provide intriguing contrasts with the natural environment in which they are lodged. There is a striking similarity between the metal colours and textures and those of the dead and dying autumnal colours of seaweed. As the water receded, it left intricate patterns in the sand around the rocks and even in fine sediments of smoother rock surfaces.

Low Tide at Lyme Regis

View from Lyme Regis over low-tide beds of seaweed towards the Cobb

The tide went out a long way on 10th March 2012. A very long way. For the first time ever I was able to see the glory of the hitherto hidden acres of golden-fronded kelps, brown fucoids, and red seaweeds carpeting the rocks at Lyme Regis. Usually when I visit the water is high on the shingle beach but on this occasion I could follow the water as it went out over the sand and rocks to get an entirely new perspective by looking up the shore, to the Cobb, the town, the fossiliferous cliffs of Black Ven and Charmouth to the east, including sight of Golden Cap. I didn’t know it at the time but this was the last time I was going to see the old breakwaters at Church Cliff.

Beds of seaweed exposed at low tide in Lyme Regis

Low-tide expanse of sandy shore at Lyme Regis in Dorset, UK.

Seaweed beds at low tide in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.

Seaweed beds at low tide in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.

Seaweed beds at low tide in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.

Seaweed beds at low tide in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.

Seaweed beds at low tide in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.

Seaweeds at Lyme Regis in Dorset, UK, along the Jurassic coast.

Seaweed beds at low tide in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.

Seaweed beds at low tide in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.

Seaweed beds at low tide in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.

Seaweed-filled rock pools at Lyme Regis in Dorset, UK.

Old Sea Defences at Church Cliff Part 1

Rusting ironwork on a wooden breakwater

These pictures were taken in 2010. None of them are edited or altered. They show details from breakwaters at Church Cliff in Lyme Regis, Dorset, that jutted out at right angles to the old sea wall. In combination, the structures were designed as coastal defences to protect the base of the soft crumbling cliffs from erosion by the sea. It was clear that the breakwaters, or groynes, had seen better days and were in need of repair. The iron that was supporting and holding the timbers together was very rusty. A lot of the woodwork was missing. In fact, they were very dilapidated but full of interesting colours and textures. The images in this post focus mainly on the corroding ironwork and include context shots to set the scene. Much has changed since these photographs were taken.

Strandline Shells on Swansea Bay

Seashells on the beach at Swansea Bay

Shells drift lines on the beachSeashells in situ on Swansea Bay strandlines or drift lines are mostly tiny immature common cockle shells but there are many other species of bivalve and gastropod mollusc shells too. I noticed mussels, tellins, and oysters, winkles, top shells, netted whelks, sting winkles, slipper and common limpets, and I am sure there were many more types. There were seven drift lines of shells lying parallel to the water line and decreasing in the number of accumulated shells sequentially up the shore. Each line represents the highest reach of the sea on a series of subsequent falling tides that were decreasing in reach each time.

It was interesting to see that wave-worn pieces of black coal and dark clinker from industrial plants across the bay were scattered amongst the light coloured shells together with a fair number of burial-blackened periwinkles. Many of the shells were fragmented and the accumulations included the calcareous tubes of marine worms. It would be lovely next time to take a sample home and sort it through under a binoc. I am sure that it would reveal much more information.

Click on any image below to see the details in a larger version.

Seaweed glistening in the sunlight

Sunlight shining through fronds of seaweed

Seaweeds glistening in the sunlight on wave-washed limestone at Spaniard Rocks (near Burry Holms) at Rhossili on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales. Higher in the intertidal zone all the seaweeds were black and crispy after rapidly drying out, and would only regain their beautiful colours and slitheriness when the tide returns.

Dry seaweed on Spaniard Rocks

Dark dry seaweed on the higher parts of Spaniard Rocks at low tide

Sparkling waves splashing seaweeds on rocks

Sparkling waves splashing seaweed