Flotsam and jetsam
Look out for razor shells and whelk egg cases, cuttle bones from Cuttlefish and mermaid’s purses which are Dogfish egg cases. Sand hoppers and Seaweed fly are abundant in the washed-up seaweed and these invertebrates provide food for birds such as Pied wagtail and Turnstone. Sadly the strand line can also be a collecting area for marine rubbish and litter dropped on the beach, much of which can be harmful to wildlife. However you can do your bit by kindly taking your rubbish home with you and supporting the aims of the Marine Conservation Society.
Animals in the rock pools
The limestone crevices provide shelter for whelks, limpets, and three types of periwinkle. Dog whelks suffered dramatically in the 1980s due to the use of poisonous anti-fouling paints on the hulls of ships. Numbers have since recovered as the use of these paints is now restricted. Limpets have a hard shell which protects from predators and a large muscular foot to clamp themselves to the rocks. They graze on seaweed, moving up to 50cm to find food, then returning home. Sea anemones live in the pools and damper hollows, many different types of worm live in the sands and Sea squirts cling to the rocks. Small fish such as Blennies and Gobies hide amongst the seaweed and even seahorses have been seen here.
Crabs and other crustaceans
A number of types of crab hide amongst the barnacle encrusted rocks. These include the Hermit crab, so called on account of its habit of living alone in a second hand shell, and the broad clawed Porcelain crab whose delicate limbs are inclined to break like porcelain. Shore crabs come in different colours, all of them heart shaped. Squat lobsters can sometimes be found and shrimps.
The rockpooling code
Take care when you are rock pooling. Wear sensible footwear because rocks can be very slippery. Nets can harm delicate animals. Carefully put rocks and seaweed back the same way up as where you found them, and return any creatures that you find back to their rock pool homes with minimum handling.