Spring Makeover at Weymouth Beach

Fresh clean sand newly distributed over Weymouth Beach

Playing with sand on an industrial scale at Weymouth Beach in Dorset this week, earth moving machinery has been restoring the shore to pristine condition by redistributing imported sand – ensuring plenty for sun-bathing and sand castle-making before the better weather and the influx of visitors arrive in this new season.

Piles of imported sand on Weymouth Beach

Piles of imported sand on Weymouth Beach

Piles of imported sand on Weymouth Beach

Piles of imported sand on Weymouth Beach

Mechanical digger moving fresh sand on Weymouth Beach

Mechanical digger moving fresh sand on Weymouth Beach

Mechanical digger moving fresh sand on Weymouth Beach

Mechanical digger moving fresh sand on Weymouth Beach

A Walk at Rocquaine Bay

Follow in my footsteps with a virtual walk along beautiful Rocquaine Bay on the west coast of the Channel Island of Guernsey. It is protected by a long sea defence wall which has employed different construction techniques along its length; mostly using local stone but also with along stretch of reinforced concrete (probably originating from German occupation World War II fortifications). The beach is both rocky and sandy with some pebble patches. Seaweeds of every colour abound. Huge limpets with white shells cluster on the bright orange-spattered L’Eree granite bedrock while outcrops of monochrome microgranodiorite occur on the upper shore near Fort Grey. Marine worm casts cover the softer muddy sands. Streams flow across the shore, their clear shallow water reflecting sunlight from the ripple crests and creating shadow patterns. A small stone jetty looks marooned among the rocks and a multi-coloured carpet of weed. Small boats bobbing in the turquoise water, rusty buoys and chains half-buried in seaweed, and algae-encrusted mooring ropes add to the evidence for fishing and leisure boating activities.

Click on the first picture to view the images in the gallery in the sequence that they were taken during the walk.

Evening Tide Rhossili

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Wind-sculpted sand & shells at Rhossili

Beach surface textures carved by windblown sand

Strong winds dried the very top layer of the wet sand on Rhossili beach, lifted the grains just above the surface, and drove them with great ferocity across the vast expanse of shore. The gusts of sand-laden wind  scoured the beach  into contour patterns and left buried seashells stripped and exposed to windward. Beautiful, natural patterns were created.

Beach surface textures carved by windblown sand

Beach surface textures carved by windblown sand

Beach surface textures carved by windblown sand

Beach surface textures carved by windblown sand

Beach surface textures carved by windblown sand

Beach surface textures carved by windblown sand

Beach surface textures carved by windblown sand

Beach surface textures carved by windblown sand

 Revision of a post from 24 December 2009

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Sad strandline bird at Oxwich

Dead bird of prey washed up on the beach - the foot and talons.

What this bird is, and how this bird died, I do not know. It was lying high up on the shore on the strandline among the usual debris, both natural and man-made. But it was magnificent despite being sad! Such lovely feathers. Such incredible talons. What a glorious bird of prey it must have been – soaring high above the cliffs. Perhaps someone reading this will help me out with its identification? I have lots of other photographs of it that might be useful.

Dead bird of prey washed up on the beach

Dead bird of prey washed up on the beach - the underside of the wing.

Dead bird of prey washed up on the beach - the head.

Dead bird of prey washed up on the beach

Dead bird of prey washed up on the beach

Dead bird of prey washed up on the beach 

Revised version of a post from 21 March 2009
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Some feathers at Whiteford Point

Two dew-laden white feathers in a heart shape on a sandy beach.

Two dew-covered white feathers lying on the beach at Whiteford Sands, Gower, South Wales. It was a misty June morning when I spotted these feathers which were coincidentally arranged into a heart shape. Maybe it was something to do with the salt in the air, as much as to do with the fineness of the plumules of this downy feather, that so many individual droplets of moisture had formed on one small feather.

A bunch of white and grey plucked feathers on a sandy beach

They were just a couple from a whole bunch of feathers scattered on the sand. It looked as if all the  grey and white plumes had been freshly plucked from a bird. There were no bones or meat. I wondered if a bird of prey had been roughly preparing the dead bird before taking it to the nest to feed young.

A group of white, grey and black feathers on wet sand.

Several larger, blunt-ended, black-tipped feathers amongst the small soft, downy ones look as if they might be from the tail of the bird. I will have to defer to any expert ornithologist reading this to identify the bird from which the feathers have been plucked and possible perpetrator. 

Dew drops covering a downy white feather on a sandy beach

Revised version of a post from 12 July 2009

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Sand patterns at Rhossili April 2010 (7)

Just a few more of the infinitely varying sand ripple patterns at Rhossili Bay in Gower. This is the seventh in a series of photographs of the sand designs recorded there over four days on the beach in early April 2010.

Click here for more SAND pictures.

Revision of a post previously published 22 May 2010

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Seven pink somethings from the seashore

Seven pink somethings from the seashore – pink seashells, pink sandal, pink seaweed, pink ‘salute’, pink stone, pink sea thrift, and pink sand.

 

Revision of a post previously published 23 May 2010

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Baby barnacles on Rhossili rocks

It’s not just the birds, bees, and educated fleas that do it, the barnacles do it too ….. breed in springtime, that is! The results were there for everyone to see, with millions of miniscule baby barnacles smothering the rocks at Rhossili in Gower in early April.

Each newly settled barnacle measured just a millimetre or so. [It was at the limit of the camera’s capability to focus – so apologies if the images are not as sharp as they could be]. The baby barnacles develop from free-swimming cyprid larvae that are only 500 – 800  µ m long. The cypris is the final stage in the larval development of the acorn barnacle – following six consecutive stages as a nauplius larva.

The cypris looks a bit like a tiny clam or an ostracod with two large shells or valves hinged on the dorsal surface and open on the ventral one. Six pairs of fringed appendages used in swimming hang down from between the valves. The cypris has sense organs to detect suitable surfaces on which to settle. It also has small antennules at the head end which it uses to crawl over the chosen substrate before performing a head-stand and cementing itself into position on its back. Newly settled barnacles are referred to as spat.

The shell of the settled acorn (or sessile) barnacle has six over-lapping calcareous side panels making an approximately cone-shaped wall. The animal lives within this ‘box’. Four more hinged plates create a lid to the box that can be opened and closed. Once the new adult-like shell form is developed, the fringed swimming appendages or natatory cirri of the larva can then be protruded through the hinged lid plates to seive food particles from seawater.

[You can see more detail in the photographs if you click on the images once, or twice. If you look carefully, you should be able to recognise a few cyprid larvae with their smooth, glossy translucent shells, in the process of settling amongst the recently metamorphosed miniature adult forms].

The young barnacles settled on every patch of smooth, bare rock where it was available at the base of Rhossili cliff – but also on top of other living adult barnacles, on the old white calcareous bases left by detatched large Perforatus perforatus barnacles, on limpets, and on mussels.  Only the dog whelks with their variously coloured shells seemed mostly free from spat fall as they feasted on the mussels and barnacles.

 

Revision of a post previously published 18 May 2010

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Up-date on the multi-coloured rock pool at Rhossili

Rock pool recovering from plastic pollution in October 2009. The water is fairly clear. (1) 

Previously I have talked about a small rock pool at Rhossili that had filled up  with  multi-coloured pieces of plastic probably arriving at this one small area of the beach from hundreds, even thousands, of miles away. Bright coloured fragments and pellets of plastic were also observable in the regurgitated remains spewed up by seabirds on the beach. That was back in the summer 2009. I have been keeping an eye on the pool to see what its fate might be.

Rock pool recovering from plastic pollution in October 2009 (2) 

By October 2009, high tides seemed to have mostly cleaned out the pool and it looked on the road to recovery.

The rock pool filled again with plant remains and plastic by winter seas. January 2010 (3) 

By January 2010 the pool was contaminated again. However, a large proportion of the rubbish in the pool this time was organic. Vegetable remains included straw-like terrestrial plant stems, broken fronds of brown seaweeds, and the large air bladders of Egg Wrack.

For earlier postings related to the plastic pollution in this pool, click here Multi-coloured Rock Pool at Rhossili and More about the multi-coloured rock pool at Rhossili.

Plant remains and plastic rubbish trapped again in the pool over winter. 1 January 2010 (4) 

Plant and plastic rubbish trapped again in a high rock pool over winter. 1 January 2010 (5) 

Revision of a post first published 19 January 2010

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