On the rocks

Guest blogger: Richard Harrington, Marine Conservation Society

There is simply nowhere better to see wildlife than on a rocky shore. Choose your tide times carefully, and not just because of safety. A visit should coincide with the times of low water, on spring tides. Spring tides happen around the times of full and new moons, and they leave acres of shore to explore. I'd recommend booking your seaside holidays based purely on when these occur, I do!

Edible crab, Cancer pagurus by Richard Harrington, Marine Conservation Society

Life between the tides is a world within a world, like a miniature version of the ocean. It contains examples of almost any animal kind you could think of finding in the sea, or anywhere else for that matter. Spiny-skinned animals like starfish and urchins, many kinds of crab, stunning anemones and seaweeds, even animals that look like mosses (the bryozoans) as well as potential views of bigger creatures like seals, eider ducks or catsharks.

Common blenny, Lipophrys pholis by Richard Harrington, Marine Conservation Society

A host of different fishes can be found amongst the toes of paddlers, amid shallow seaweeds, and even on top of rocks exposed at low tide. The common blenny, also called shanny, is adapted to survive out of water for a number of hours. And in the calm of a rockpool, they are often quite approachable, children are usually great at spotting them. Be careful though, their beak-like mouth, for munching barnacles, can give a nasty nip.



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