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REPORTS 2004 ET SEQ
REPORT PAGES 2004
black and white wing was the first indication of an Oystercatcher,
ostralegus, that descended
to land on the loose rock shore of Kingston Beach on a low neap
A careful watch for a few minutes through my binoculars and the Oystercatcher
was attempting the repeated stabbing with its medium-length black beak,
which is a behavioural characteristic of this bird. It was one of several
techniques to stab at mussels to get at the rich
flesh inside. It was not successful and the tide would not go out any further
to reveal the mussel beds (on a 1.9 metre low neap tide) and there would
not be more than an occasional mussel exposed *, and it may have been stabbing
at the hinges of exposed cockles? (* Mussels
need be submerged for every tide.)
red legs of the Oystercatcher were
matched by a well camouflaged Redshank
between the launching ramp and the first groyne.
on Lundy (Behaviour)
Groyne to the east of the Launching Ramp (5)
level: 1.94 metres, neap low water
the shallow pool near the Lifeboat Station the red breast of a Kingfisher
out from the pipeline it was perched on (8).
Ironically, a couple of Crows
had managed to prise out a clump of mussels.
neap tide variation between 2.36 metres (low at 12.04
pm) and the high tide of 4.4 metres (6:14
pm in darkness) is one of the smallest possible.
(The equinoctial spring tide variation could be up to 7 metres).
were two Little Egrets
at low tide, one stationed in the small pool where the prawns and small
fish collect the tide recedes. (1)
Egret again patrolled the water's edge
with the incoming spring tide. (This may now
be a regular occurrence as the reports are limited to my visits.)
least three (probably many more) small Shore
Crabs on Kingston Beach were parasitised
by the barnacle Sacculina
carcini. The parasite looks like a yellow
blob in the place under the abdominal flap where the eggs would be carried.
The prawns in the pools under the groyne (5)
mostly a blue-tinged small prawn Palaemon elegans.
incessant chattering of five young Terns
was interrupted by the vertical dive and a plop as the young sea birds
hit the water after young fish, and on more than one occasion they were
seen to be successful with a small fish in their mouths. As the sea lapped
against the sandy shore on a low springs the Little
Egret was seen to be successful stabbing
at prawns. There were a few large prawns and thousands of smaller ones,
the usual small fish and crabs by the Thru'penny Bit (although young Bullheads
and Blennies were not caught) and one emerald green first year Ballan
Wrasse was netted. (1)
Egret stalked the sandy tideline
on the low springs for small prawns. There were
some larger edible prawns Paleamon serratus,
at least a couple of adult
Rock Gobies under
a large rock, and small juvenile Corkwing Wrasse,
and a dozen
Spider Crabs (1) clinging
to the net. A colourful rainbow lit up the black cloudy sky in the east
before a brief minute-long deluge.
half a dozen pure white Doves
(probably from Kingston Buci Vicarage) was an incongruous sight on the
rocks and sand between the two breakwaters at the neap low tide.
out into the harbour entrance, flocks of fifty plus Black-headed
Gulls were feeding on small fish near
looked like the Port Authority had been dredging again as there was excessive
silt in the sea and on the shore. The tide only
receded to about half a metre (WXTide
= 0.8 m) above Chart Datum. Very small fry
were numerous by the Thru'penny Bit, a dozen or so of Black
Goby, Corkwing Wrasse and Bullhead
first year fish, and a handful of first year Common
Goby and Blenny. Hundreds of very
small prawns and a couple of Long-legged
Spider Crabs were netted as well (1).
they are six metre plus high tides, the water does not recede very far,
only down to 0.8 metres above Chart Datum,
so the rockpooling was only to collect a few
prawns for the wrasse in my home
appearance of four large Long-legged
Spider Crabs (1)
was unexpected, although they have been caught in July before. The largest
specimen measured 18 mm from the rear of the carapace to the eyes but the
spread of legs and claws was 100 mm. A few Moon
Jellyfish will seen just beneath the surface.
went out right to the Thru'-penny bit and the soft mud was even more dangerous
than last month and the silt covered everything, making rockpooling extremely
poor and not worth a trip. This is worst I have seen it. The excessive
silt is probably caused by dredging the harbour entrance.
explains the increase in silt? It could be more dredging, or possibly
dredging on the flood tide?)
went out right to the Thru'-penny bit and the soft mud was dangerous and
covered all the rocks. A couple of small
resided under the rocks above the tide marker (1).
could be found under the rocks in the piddock chalk area
(4) at mid-tide level on Kingston beach. I
stepped on a chalk rock which broke into two and a Piddock
perched on the second wooden groyne (5) on
Kingston beach. It was at neap low tide so the mussel beds and sandy and
weed shore below the shingle would not be uncovered today.
was completely dark at low tide and this reminded me that the Limpets
were on the move on the groynes and rocks, despite being out of the water.
They were not clamped down and could be easily removed from the rocks (it
was usually almost impossible without damaging them). There were two small
Wrasse in the pools under the second groyne, and a small Bullhead.
Heron was perched on the second groyne
(5) as the tide came in this morning.
a small prawns and mussel collecting trip, but there were a couple of small
under rocks (5)
and a first year Corkwing Wrasse in an upper
tide pool (8).
large Shore Squat Lobster,
squamifera, was an unusual on the estuarine part of the Adur (TQ
2335 0485 ) (7).
is an an abundant prawn-sized crustacean of the shallow seas, but uncommon
on Kingston beach and in the estuary.
the wrack and shingle estuarine shore to the west of the Lifeboat Station
2335 0485) (7),
the yellow variant of the Flat Winkle
stood out at low tide on the exclusively Bladder
Fucus vesiculosus, and this
colour scheme is thought to be protection from predation from below, the
yellow effecting camouflage against the sky. Under the larger rocks there
were a couple of young Butterfish.
was a Mallard-sized duck on Kingston beach at
midday, two hours before the high 6.7 metre spring tide (at 5 metres high
water covering most of the wooden slipway). I did not have my binoculars
and the duck was silhouetted. I had it penned as an Eider
or a Scoter.
It was just resting on the flat sea between the end of the groynes and
the low tide mark, drifting very slowly eastwards (about 150 metres away,
by OS map). (TG
0350 0484) (3).
on 7 October 2002
a female Velvet Scoter
was seen on her own five metres offshore near Shoreham Power Station at
reported before, today was the first time time I had seen a Little
on Kingston beach, wading about in a shallow pool on the low neaps, before
flying eastwards to sandy part of the shore. The Little
Egret was preening and it was not seen to
attempt to feed. Under the rocks (4)
there were numerous (50+) young Rock Gobies,
about 65 mm long, which would provide a tasty snack for the long beak of
the Egret, as
well as a few Blennies
of the same size, thousands of very small prawns in the shallow pools.
the waterline an Oystercatcher (4)
probed, and the bright orange legs
of a junior Redshank (4)
contrasted with the dark red legs
of the Black-headed Gulls.
its wings and there were at least a couple of Great
Black-backed Gulls (3),
but I would be surprised if they weren't present.
small dark bird skimmed over the sea at Kingston beach, a flash of turquoise
revealing it to be a Kingfisher (1).
An Oystercatcher probed
at low water (4).
was a low spring at one metre and the water was clear. However, there was
very little around except for a couple of small first year Corkwing
Wrasse (1) (5)
and a small Long-legged
Spider Crab (1),
as well as thousands of small prawns (5).
A Common Chiton,
asellus was recorded on a mussel shell (2).
about 1 metre above Chart Datum, Kingston Beach
early morning low spring tide at Kingston beach
produced a young Black
Goby, a small fish that looks like
the commoner Rock Goby,
so alike that the first fish may be overlooked in tidal pools. A Hermit
Crab shared a periwinkle shell with the
commensal ragworm Neanthes fucata (=Nereis). (1)
ready to catch any fish by the edge of the water as the tide rolled in.
low spring tide forecasted at 0.2 on WXTides receded past the tide marker
for at least 20 minutes and the sand covered almost all the rocks.
It was a very ordinary rockpooling trip with
moderate numbers of most of the common species but nothing special. It
would be good for the kids as over 50 fish, mostly small ones were seen
fish: Eel (4+), Rock Goby (one), Sand
fish: 2-spot Goby (1), Bullhead, (10+)
Rock Goby (12+), Blenny (3+)
(3), Blenny (25+), Rock Goby (100+),
Crabs occupied the shells of winkles and Netted Dogwhelks. All the
prawns were tiny.
Winkle was recorded and one orange coloured
cinerea. The chiton was fixed to the underside of rock at mid-tide
level, amongst the loose rocks between the end of the groynes and the water
line. This is the usual place where these small (16 mm) oval rock-hugging
molluscs can be discovered, but they are not prevalent, usually absent
and/or can be easily overlooked.
of the venerids (bivalve mollusc), probably Venerupis
senegalensis (=pullastra) was still alive
on the surface under a rock.
(20 mm) specimen of the distinctive small shrimp-like crustacean Athanas
nitescens was blue with a white stripe down its back, looking formidable
like a microscopic lobster, if it was not so tiny.
has now covered virtually all the rocks around the Thru'penny Bit just
below Chart Datum. The usual selection of fry, Blennies
and Bullheads most noticeable with adult
Blennies and green coloured Eels.
Underneath the second groyne at mid-tide level, the only postlarvae of
note was the brown pea-sized fry of the Lumpsucker,
lumpus. The half a dozen Hermit
Crabs occupied shells up to dogwhelk size.
Heron fished in the shallows as the low
least 20 Blennies and a 6 cm long 5-Bearded
Rockling under rocks above but near Chart
Datum, which is unusual with more small Blennies in the sea below low
tide level. The water was silty and there were no large prawns. AnotherSting
was a neap tide with a low of just 2 metres after a previous day of very
heavy rain, so it came as a surprise to discover a 7 cm long 5-Bearded
Rockling in the pool underneath the
second groyne from the west. This fish looked in less than perfect
condition, starving or having recently released its eggs.
discovered feeding on a mussel on Kingston beach,
Shoreham-by-Sea. This is an unusual find on the shore, and I have never
discovered a live specimen before on this particular beach in thousands
of visits over 20 years. This specimen was introduced to by marine
aquarium where it began to feed on a small oyster.
fish included an adult Corkwing Wrasse, adult
and small Bullheads.
very low tide (0.1 metres) but it was silty and the fauna was extremely
poor, with an adult Rock Goby, a common
species, but the only fish noticeable. The larger Oysters has been
mostly chiselled off the rocks.
was their calls that first attracted by attention, but in the distance,
two Lesser Black-backed Gulls
nuzzled each other on Kingston beach, which looked to me like a mating
ritual, although they are not known to breed in this part of Sussex.
the tide receded past Chart Datum there
was a lot of silt and very little around.
fish included scores of tiny Rock Gobies some
very small 65 mm Butterfish. A single Common
Hermit Crab occupied a Periwinkle shell. A single small Common
Starfish, a large brown Dogwhelk and scores
of Oysters were noted.
0.6 metre low tide revealed a single specimen of the sea anemone Sagartiogeton
undatus, but as the area below the Tide Level Marker was still
under water, there could be other sea anemones,
as this is the best known location for this sea anemone that I know. A
single specimen of the nudibranch (sea slug) Onchidoris
bilamellata was also discovered under a barnacle encrusted
rock. This species is common in spring when it comes into breed on the
exposed shores at Ovingdean and Worthing
but on this sheltered shore it is rare. Some Oysters
were large enough for eating and one Whelk was
buried at cockle-depth in the sand.
fish included scores of tiny Rock Gobies and
the thread-like tiny Butterfish. A single Common
Hermit Crab occupied a Netted Dogwhelk shell.
the mud flats the most noticeable birds were three Oystercatchers
which have been less seen than normal this winter. Some other birds were
making a tremendous amount of noise, including one unseen Redshank
sent all the birds bar the gulls into flight. Their warning call was supplemented
by a chippy call, more persistent and harsher, but it could be mistaken
for the call of a Turnstone.
low spring tide at Kingston Beach only receded
to 1.2 metres above Chart Datum so the lowest
most interesting part of this beach was still under water. However, despite
this and January is usually the least interesting
of all the months of the year, there were still small Blennies
under rocks, a tiny 6 mm Butterfish and a few
elegans, in the pools underneath the groynes.
most notable discovery were large Dogwhelks
averaging 50 mm in length (all a dirty white colour) and one group were
laying their egg capsules. This was unknown on this shore since the TBT
pollution wiped out the breeding population in the 1970s. A
chemical component called tributyltin in anti-fouling paints caused
female Dogwhelks to develop a condition called imposex which prevented
them from breeding. Unusually, small Common
Starfish were present under rocks
and at least one Common
Whelk was discovered amongst the oysters,
winkles. The small crustacean Athanas
nitescens was present under rocks to the east if the central groyne.
a hundred Black-headed Gulls and
an occasional Crow
inhabited the mud flats below the area of loose flint rocks. A wedge of
followed by a solitary one flew overhead from out to sea and over Kingston
Buci in the direction of the Adur Valley by the
most direct route.
due north (boreal) wind brought a chill to the air. On the Kingston beach
the low spring is recorded at 0.7 metres but it receded almost to Chart
Datum. On the Sussex coast, the mobile shore
fauna almost completely disappears in after the first spring tides
in October with hardly a straggler prawn
or Shore Crab left behind.
rocks there were some very small (to 12 mm) juvenile Rock
Gobies, and a couple of Netted Dogwhelk shells appearing empty but
discovered to be occupied by tiny Common Hermit Crabs.
The small crustacean Athanas nitescens was common (50+) under one
a low spring tide, Kingston beach was still heavily silted near low water
mark. All the pools were almost devoid of mobile life except for a large
adult Corkwing Wrasse near the tide marker
at Chart Datum.
is a considerable amount of silt on Kingston Beach. The tide went out a
very long way, the foot of the Thru'penny Bit (Harbour Control) was
exposed, and the thick mud was nearly dangerous, in most parts the
boots would sink below ankle depth in black smelly mud. The conditions
were unsuitable fro prawning. Over winter this mud gets scoured away -
it usually arrives as a result of harbour dredging. In the upper-mid shore
pools underneath the groynes, there was a solitary juvenile Ballan
Wrasse and small prawns.
long spring tide went out below Chart Datum
on Kingston beach and there was a meal of large
prawns Paleamon serratus.
The presence of a dozen very small Common Starfish,
rubens, was unusual for this particular shore. There was an interesting
mixture of typical fish and invertebrate intertidal life, with hundreds
of very small (30 - 55 mm) first year Bullheads.
Medium-sized Butterfish, Five-bearded
Rocklings, Sand Gobies, with a few of each
(up to five recorded) and at least one Eel,
Anguilla, under a boulder
were the rock pool fish of note. Common
Long-clawed Porcelain Crabs,
Crabs, represented the crab fauna, with the
Crab, common, of course. One or two Shore Crabs were dead and
being consumed by hundreds of Netted Dogwhelks.
Rocklings, young (first year) Corkwing Wrasse,
small Bullheads and very small Squat Lobsters
squamifera, on the middle shore on the low springs that did not
go out far in a blustery breeze (Force 4).
on the Shore
small shoal of juvenile first year Pollack,
as a great surprise to me on a mussel collecting expedition. In well over
a thousand observations I have never seen shoals of these fry before. The
mid-water shoals are usually Sand Smelt Atherina presbyter; Bass,
labrax; or Grey Mullet, Chelon labrosus. Pollack shoals are
are a characteristic of Cornish and Devon estuaries. At first the back
of the tiny fish up to 40 mm long looked a coppery colour so I suspected
a Pouting, Trisopterus luscus, but even in the postlarvae the more
streamlined nature of the Pollack was clear, but if any doubt was needed
the marked gaps between the three dorsal fins was decisive. Out of sunlight
the back looks more greenish-brown. The shoal numbered about 200, maybe
more, as my view was obscured. Thousands of Sea
Gooseberries shared the same sea as the juvenile Pollack.
lapillus, have just returned to this shore after an absence from 1982.
They are all old specimens and even 20 years I do not recall any eggs.
With a covering of mud, one Dogwhelk could be mistaken for a Common Whelk,
undatum, especially as its size at 52 mm is bigger than average. Dogwhelks
usually average about 20 mm to 30 mm, and specimens can reach 60 mm. On
Kingston beach, they still need looking for, and are rarely below 35 mm
is rather an ordinary observation but the two species of prawns
found on Kingston Beach are showing remarkable differences. The smaller
elegans in the higher pools have dark blue, almost black, markings
and egg masses, whilst the larger Paleamon serratus at the low tide
mark are remarkably reddish with orange egg masses. This colour guide cannot
be relied upon as the larger prawns can be blue and both species almost
transparent with hardly any clear lines.
ctenophore (comb-jelly) Sea Gooseberry, Pleuribrachia pileus,
is both ubiquitous and superabundant pelagically in the NE Atlantic Ocean,
but on the low springs (0.4 metre) at Kingston beach in the early evening
was only the second tide sequence that I have actually discovered this
animal that appears as transparent globules in the prawn
net. In a miniature aquarium, the tentacles
and the swimming combs of this tiny ovoid predator appear to shimmer. At
night it is phosphorescent as is the River Adur
in autumn if you splash an oar in the surface tidal stream.
elongate small fish known as the Butterfish,
because of its slippery nature, or Gunnel (misspelling of Gunwhale), Pholis
gunnellus, were present on Kingston beach on the low spring tide.
a flock of at least 25 birds on Kingston Beach, between the second
and third groyne from the west, was repeatedly dropping a mollusc of some
sort on to the shingle beach. I doubt if it has had much success. The usual
dropping area (but this may be gulls) is on the concrete near the Life
Boat Station, which is sometimes covered with mussel,
and winkle shells.
storm water overflow near Kingston Lane was discharging water at full capacity.
low neap tide after
a period of heavy rain in late autumn is usually very poor for mobile intertidal
life on the Sussex coast. However, in the pool under the groyne, there
was an adult Blenny, and juvenile Corkwing
Wrasse (one) and juvenile Bullheads (4+).
The sea still covered most of the shore.
small Bullhead with a rust-like tinge over
its body was collected from Kingston beach, Shoreham, on this visit, for
its photograph. However, within one week this rust-like tinge had disappeared.
went down the beach to collect a few mussels
(Mytilus), cockles (Cerastoderma)
and very small prawns (Palaemon elegans), to feed the aquarium fish
and invertebrates, and in a pool amongst the weed was an adult Butterfish,
gunnellus. Adults are not common intertidally, only occasionally found,
it is the young ones that are common (100+). It was interesting because
all of the previous 5,000 I have discovered between the tides have been
found under flint and chalk rocks, or in piddock
warrens in the soft chalk. I have given up counting the ocellated spots.
least one Shore Crab was infected with the parasitic
barnacle Sacculina carcini.
Crab was also noted.
least 30 Crows
foraged on the shingle as the tide came in. A mixture of gulls, including
at least one mature Herring Gull
stood and foraged on the small portions of remaining sand.
sea had churned up the sand at Kingston Beach, where the fauna was exiguous,
but notably an absence of large prawns. Adult Corkwing
Wrasse (one), large first year Corkwing (only one caught in an upper
pool underneath a groyne) but more would be present, largish 5-Bearded
Rockling (one was 16 cm long and found in an upper pool), Bullheads
(in the upper pool to 95 mm) and small Rock Gobies
were very frequently discovered under rocks.
some of the lowest tides of the year, Kingston Beach was full of marine
life, although nothing exceptional. Long-legged Spider
Crabs were common and the intertidal fish included Rock
Gobies, Common Gobies, Bullheads,
Wrasse (juv.), Butterfish,
Wrasse (juv.), 5-Bearded Rockling and an
Eel (in order of prevalence).
up to 2 kg, cruised into the entrance of Shoreham Harbour, (TQ
235 048) scattering the shoals of Sand
Atherina presbyter. The anglers were catching the attractively
patterned Sand Smelt at a length of 16 cm (excluding the caudal fin).
a low spring tide, the same fish as on 20
July 2000 were present including another adult
Corkwing, except no Ballan Wrasse were caught in the dip/prawn net. Furthermore,
Blennies were not so common, but instead Rock Gobies,
in breeding livery, but not full adult size were common. In addition,
Gobies were also very common over both the sand and where the mussel
beds on the concrete slaps adjoined the sand and rock areas. They were
caught in the same net as the baby Corkwing
Eel, Anguilla, was found under
a rock. It was about 25 cm long., and also a medium-sized Butterfish.
Hinia reticulata, were noticeable, as is
quite often at this time of the year, with small Hermit
Crabs crawling over the sand and amongst the rocks. A most unusual
appearance was a solitary
which reach their most easterly point of distribution up the English Channel
(northern coast) at Worthing, with an occasional
stragglers on the shore at Shoreham, and almost entirely absent from Brighton.
(small fingernail-sized) Squat Lobsters, Galathea squamifera, were
occasionally found on the underside of rocks, with the Long-clawed
Porcelain Crab, Pisidia longicornis.
were just about enough prawns
Paleamon serratus at the low tide mark to make a meal, with very small
and Corkwing Wrasse (plus one full grown adult
a few small Rock Gobies. A couple of the Long-legged
Spider Crabs, Macropodia, got caught in the net.
It was a neap tide at a
low of 1.3 metres (no sand was visible) and the rock pools underneath the
second groyne from the west contained a Moon
Jellyfish, Aurelia aurita, and a 5-Bearded
Rockling. In the shallow pools, the male Common
Gobies were in breeding colours. A few juvenile Brown Shrimps,
shuffled in the sandy pools.
sea anemone Sagartiogeton undatus was
discovered. This uncommon sea anemone is present locally but rarely discovered.
were discovered under rocks just above low water mark, and a couple of
were caught near low water mark. Blennies were
common (see below). Large edible sized prawns
were absent, although present at other location off Shoreham.
Beach fails to comply with the mandatory levels of minimum sewage pollution,
exceeding the coliform count. This is not the EA figures but samples taken
by Adur District Council
Legal Requirements (link)