Lyme Regis Driftwood Patterns

Stormy seas have brought lots of driftwood ashore at Lyme Regis in Dorset, England. I liked this particular tree because of the convolutions of its twisted roots that had incorporated stones during growth. The root bark texture was interesting; and the stripped-down trunk and branches revealed intricate spiralling patterns in the woodgrain. I loved the little survivor of the storms, sitting drenched and bemused among the tangled roots.

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Kewarra Beach

Goat's Foot Morning Glory flower on the beach

This post represents my first visit to the Australian shoreline. Kewarra Beach, just north of Cairns on the Queensland Coast, is fairly typical of the beaches in the area. You can see from the pictures that it was virtually deserted. Even though the temperature was hot, hot, hot, it was also steamy; for the most part, a dull day with rain clouds tumbling down from the mountains.

Rainforest trees come right down to the sand – and as with the mangroves bordering the river, the tangled networks of roots are exposed. Ideal territory for salt water crocodiles – there is even a notice warning of recent sightings. Thinking that one of the dreaded creatures is possibly lurking somewhere – ready to dart out of concealment for a meal – certainly takes the edge off the idea of paddling or exploring the woods by the shore.

The tide had washed in driftwood, dead fish, coconuts, and strange jawbones. Delicate purple-tinged clams rolled on the surf; oysters clustered on rock; and tiny Sand Bubbler Crabs popped in and out of burrows – scattering small balls of sand in linear patterns on the beach. In this paradise, pink Goat’s Foot Morning Glory flowers decorated the grey rip-rap used as a sea defence.

View of tropical beach with rain clouds

Fish jaw bone on the beach

Trees growing on a sandy beach

Exposed tangled network of tree roots

Australian native rock oysters on a beach boulder

Close-up image of native rock oysters on a boulder

Exposed tree roots on a sandy beach

Driftwood on a sandy Australian beach

Trees with exposed roots growing on a sandy beach

Sign warning of dangerous crocodiles

Dead fish washed up on sandy beach

Sand Bubbler Crab and seashells

Mangrove-lined river flowing onto the beach

Small river estuary with mangroves

Sky, sea, surf, and sand

Small living clam found rolling in the surf

Coconut with husk washed ashore

Tropical trees at the top of a sandy beach

Rip-rap rocks on a tropical beach

Flowering Morning Glory vine on the beach

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2013

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Driftwoodgrain Patterns

Driftwoodgrain Patterns (1) - Natural patterns in weathered driftwood washed up on an Oregon coast beach. The small black dots are lichen.

Driftwoodgrain Patterns (12) - Driftwood on an Oregon beach with interesting texture and natural patterns of whorls and grooves. These wonderful textures, swirls, whorls, and grooves – sometimes dotted or patched with black or white – are natural abstract patterns of woodgrain (growth layers) decorated with encrusting lichen – photographed on a single large heavily-weathered and etched driftwood tree trunk washed up on a basalt-covered beach of the Oregon coast.

Driftwoodgrain Patterns (2) - Natural patterns of swirls and grooves in weathered driftwood washed up on an Oregon Coast beach.

Driftwoodgrain Patterns (3) - Natural patterns in weathered driftwood washed up on an Oregon Coast beach - with encrusting black and white lichen.

Driftwoodgrain Patterns (4) - Natural patterns of swirls and grooves in weathered driftwood washed up on an Oregon Coast beach.

Driftwoodgrain Patterns (5) - Natural patterns of swirls and grooves in weathered driftwood, with patches of black and white lichen encrustation, washed up on an Oregon Coast beach.

Driftwoodgrain Patterns (6) - Natural patterns of swirls and grooves in weathered driftwood washed up on an Oregon Coast beach.

Driftwoodgrain Patterns (7) - Wood texture - natural patterns of swirls and grooves in weathered driftwood washed up on an Oregon Coast beach.

Driftwoodgrain Patterns (8) - Wood texture - natural patterns of swirls and grooves in weathered driftwood washed up on an Oregon Coast beach.

Driftwoodgrain Patterns (9) - Wood texture - natural patterns of swirls and grooves in weathered driftwood washed up on an Oregon Coast beach.

Driftwoodgrain Patterns (10) - Wood texture - natural patterns of swirls and grooves in weathered driftwood washed up on an Oregon Coast beach.

Driftwoodgrain Patterns (11) - Large tree trunk driftwood washed up on a basalt covered beach in Oregon.

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Trinity Beach-combings

Image

An assortment of seashells and pebbles from the strand-line at Trinity Beach, Queensland, Australia

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2012

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Winkles living on Whiteford wood and rocks

Common winkles, Littorina littorea (Linnaeus), grazing on ancient wood at Whiteford Sands, Gower, South Wales, UK (1) 

On the beach at Whiteford, near Llanmadoc in Gower, there is one place where many boulders and occasional water-logged timbers outcrop on the sands. The rocks could well have been deposited by an ice-sheet, while the wood may well be the remains of a forest that was submerged ten thousand years ago.

At low tide, hundreds of thousands of common winkles, Littorina littorea (Linnaeus), emerge from hiding places under stones and sand.  You can see trails in the sand showing how they travel to exposed hard surfaces on rocks and wood to feed. These surfaces may be covered with acorn barnacles but the winkles are vegetarians and are not interested in eating these. The winkles are after the thin encrusting film of microscopic green algae which coats every surface. Winkles have a sort of rough tongue called a toothed radula which they use to scrape this deposit off the surfaces.

Huge numbers of empty winkle shells can occur on the strandline at Whiteford. Many of the empty winkle shells found there, on the sandy spit beyond the point, have started life on the stones and boulders around the old Whiteford lighthouse. 

In common with these drifts of empty winkle shells on the strandline, the shells of these living specimens of gastropod mollusc are also thick and rough with a dull and worn surface. In close-up the shells also appear pitted; pitting can be caused by a lichen living in the matrix of the shell. 

In other locations in Britain – like the seashore along the Jurassic Coast in Dorset – the shells of the living common winkles are not dull and rough like the Whiteford shells: they look very different. You can see some photographs of these, for example, in the post called Holdfast habitat at Ringstead Bay.

Common winkles, Littorina littorea (Linnaeus), grazing on ancient wood at Whiteford Sands, Gower, South Wales, UK (2) 

Here is an ancient piece of wood projecting from the sand. At its base you can see the trails in the sand left by winkles as they move towards this hard surface. The winkles congregate at the base of the timber and climb upwards along the worn grooves to graze the algae.

Winkles on wood at Whiteford Sands: Common winkles, Littorina littorea (Linnaeus), grazing on ancient wood at Whiteford Sands, Gower, South Wales, UK (3)  

Here is a close-up view of the winkles grazing on the eroded surface of a piece of old water-logged wood.

Living winkles on pebbles: Common winkles, Littorina littorea (Linnaeus), grazing on alga-covered pebbles at Whiteford Sands, Gower, South Wales, UK (4)  

A scattering of  living winkles are also found feeding amongst the smaller, smoother, algae-coated stones.

Living winkles on rock: Common winkles, Littorina littorea (Linnaeus), eating algae from boulders on the beach at Whiteford Sands, Gower, South Wales, UK (5)  

On larger boulders the winkles are tightly clustered together and may entirely cover the surfaces. In the picture below you can see how dull and worn the shells are. Some of them have grains of sand sticking to them and a few even have barnacles attached.

Winkles at Whiteford Sands: Common winkles, Littorina littorea (Linnaeus), scraping microscopic algae from boulders on the beach at Whiteford Sands, Gower, South Wales, UK (5)  

Revision of a post first published 24 September 2009

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2011

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