The rock ledges below the new sea wall at Church Cliffs in Lyme Regis, Dorset, are the upper strata of the Blue Lias limestone. The natural limestone ledges and the smooth artificial substrate of the concrete sea wall, provide a home for numerous seashore creatures like limpets, winkles, and top shells as well as many commonly attached red, green and brown seaweeds, and encrusting calcareous algae (pink Lithamnion). The brown substance sticking to a lot of limpet shells is also an encrusting seaweed (probably Brown Limpet Paint Ralfsia verrucosa).
Multitudes of small holes penetrating the rocks are the often-occupied burrows of small marine polychaete worms like the Polydora species. Occasional drifts of sandy ripples coating the stone are punctured by largish round holes where bivalved burrowing piddocks living in the rocks below have squirted jets of water from their exhalent siphons and cleared the sand away.
It is interesting to see that the seashore life is equally at home on the old concrete footings from the defunct breakwaters as it is on the limestone.
The shore beneath the new sea wall in Lyme Regis looks very different now the old breakwaters or groynes have been removed. You can still see the linear concrete footings of the old wood and iron structures but most of the pebbles and cobbles that used to accumulate between the walls are now absent (at least for the moment). A bare rock pavement is revealed, comprising a series of steps representing the strata and colonised by seaweeds. Rippled sand sometimes deposits in the valleys between the rock ledges.
The sky became bluer and the vast expanse of low tide sand seemed superficially at least to be featureless – but peering into the distance, towards Burry Holms, there was an unexpected dark line. Viewed through the zoom, it turned out to be something interesting on which dozens of young gulls and a few crows were having a great feast.
During the early hours of the morning the sea had brought in a sad harvest of seashore creatures now lying dead or dying on a bed of broken plant stems and fragments of blackened driftwood. Most of the animals were common starfishes (Asterias rubens) but rayed trough shells (Mactra stultorum), the elongated Pharus legumen, common whelks (Buccinum undatum), and the occasional masked crab (Corystes cassivelaunus) were also present. What had caused this mass stranding event I do not know but it happens every now and again. I have photographed similar multiple deaths on this beach before.
You can click on any picture to see the whole gallery in enlarged format
There is nothing I like better than strolling along the seashore and looking not only at the view but in detail at all the rocks, shells, and seaweeds. I love the colours, patterns and textures. I am curious about what they are called and how they came to be there. What happened geologically to form the rocks, when did it happen, what processes have worn the rocks away to leave their present formations? The living organisms like the seaweeds, limpets and periwinkles are connected to the rocks as part of their habitat preferences. Birds live, feed and die around the seashore. Everything is inter-related and I am one with them all. The feeling of being a part of it all is hard to beat. I capture these moments with my camera and relive the experiences by looking at the photographs later. They lift my mood and make me feel happy. The pictures in this post record some of the sights and natural treasures that I discovered walking along the rocky shore at Rousse Point in the Channel Island of Guernsey. Enjoy.
Views of the Parrsboro shore and harbour at low tide one evening in May 2016. We stopped off there to have a seafood supper at the Harbour View Restaurant. The tidal rise and fall on this beach can be as much as 45 feet and the sea goes way out. Boats moored in the harbour are stranded on the mud at low tide. The small town of Parrsboro lying a little further inland and up river of the shore is where we based ourselves to explore the area. We stayed at the Parrsboro Mansion Inn from which we travelled out to Joggins Fossil Cliffs, Cap D’Or, Spencer’s Island, Clarke Head, and Wasson Bluff. On a previous visit to the area in 2014 we visited the Fundy Geological Museum, Partridge Island, and Joggins.