Soft Autumn Light

Soft autumn sunlight on wet sand ripples at low tide

Shafts of late afternoon autumn sunlight can occasionally break through cloud-covered skies bringing about the most subtle of changes in the landscape – like briefly adding the slightest perceptible warm glow to delineate and brighten sand ripple patterns on the low-tide shore.

Worm Casts at Pembroke Bay

Lug worm casts and blow holes on a sandy beach

Lug worm casts and blow holes were widespread over the low-tide sand at Pembroke Bay on the Channel Island of Guernsey when I visited in early October. They had a more scattered distribution and the casts were not so fine as those I have seen on other parts of the island at Rocquaine Bay and Cobo Bay. Two species of Arenicolidae have been recorded for Guernsey and I wonder if I have been looking at the burrows and traces of the two different types. Here on the beach at Pembroke Bay I think they could well be Arenicola marina (Linnaeus) whereas those I had photographed else where could be Arenicola ecaudata Johnston which prefers the rich mud between stones or in rock crevices at low water. Both types of cast are shown in the gallery below. Click to enlarge the images and see the descriptions.

Sand ripple patterns at Whiteford

Patterns in nature: Sand ripple pattern at Whiteford Sands, Gower, South Wales, UK (1)

The natural patterns of ripples in the sand on the beach always fascinate me. Here is a selection that I photographed at Whiteford Sands in Gower recently. They had all formed on the expanding sand bank at the western end of the beach – which is also where I captured the strange serpentine ripples a few years ago.

Patterns in nature: Sand ripple pattern at Whiteford Sands, Gower, South Wales, UK (2)

Patterns in nature: Sand ripple pattern at Whiteford Sands, Gower, South Wales, UK (3)

Patterns in nature: Sand ripple pattern at Whiteford Sands, Gower, South Wales, UK (4)

Patterns in nature: Sand ripple pattern at Whiteford Sands, Gower, South Wales, UK (5)

Patterns in nature: Sand ripple pattern at Whiteford Sands, Gower, South Wales, UK (6)

Sand ripple pattern at Whiteford Sands, Gower, South Wales, UK (7)

Sand ripple pattern at Whiteford Sands, Gower, South Wales, UK (8)

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Footprints in the sand

Footprint in the sand: Bare footprint in damp soft sand - one of many left at the end of a hot sunny day on Rhossili Beach, Gower, South Wales, UK (1)

At the end of a long hot sunny day almost the only thing left on Rhossili Beach are the footprints of all the visitors. Large ones and small ones. Bare feet and shod. Clear impressions in deep, soft, damp sand, with ripple patterns left by the sea. Fuzzy prints left in dry, powdery sand with ripple patterns left by the wind. The low-angled light of the setting sun throws the footprints into sharp relief by casting deep shadows and creating highlighting glints on these remains of the day.

Footprints on the beach with sand ripples: Bare footprints in soft damp sea-rippled sand - some of multitudes of prints highlighted by the setting sun at the end of a hot day on Rhossili Beach, Gower, South Wales, UK (2)

Footprint in dry beach sand with ripples and sand-hopper holes: Footprint in dry wind--rippled sand - one of many prints highlighted by the setting sun at the end of the day on Rhossili Beach, Gower, South Wales, UK (3)

Lonely trail: Bare footprints in damp sand on the beach at sunset. Rhossili, Gower, south Wales, UK (4)

Sunset shadows emphasiing a footprint in the sand: Deep perfectly formed bare footprint in damp sand on the beach at sunset. Rhossili, Gower, South Wales, UK (5)

The remains of the day on the beach: Footprints with wind-rippled dry sand and depressions left by sandhoppers emerging from burial to forage at the end of a hot day at Rhossili, Gower, South Wales, UK (6)

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Sand patterns at Rhossili April 2010 (2)

Every tide seems to leave a new range of sand ripple patterns on the beach at Rhossili, Gower. This is the second in a series of photographs of the sand designs recorded over four days in early April 2010.

Click here for more posts about SAND in Jessica’s Nature Blog.

 

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2012

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