of marine wildlife from all around the British Isles, with pollution incidents
and conservation initiatives as they affect the flora and fauna of the
NE Atlantic Ocean.
Whale and Dolphin Watch (sponsored by BG Group, DEFRA &
Heritage Lottery Fund) took place around the UK with watches conducted
from about 200 sites from Shetland to Cornwall & the Channel Islands.
main watch site was at Brighton 28 August
2004, on the west arm of the Brighton Marina
(East Sussex). This was the site for members of the public to join in the
watch and find out more about the project. 12 people took part in the watch
for periods between 1 and 2 hours. Many members of the public stopped to
find out more about our project and we also received many calls on the
pm we spotted a Bottle-nosed
Tursiops truncatus, a
bit further out to sea than usual, possibly due to the increase in pleasure
vessels coming to and from the marina being a bank holiday. It was thought
by one of the watchers (and myself) that there could have been a second
dolphin but could not be sure as the sea conditions had changed from a
sea state 1 to a sea state 3 during the day.
Dolphin sightings were also recorded at
Eastbourne during the event, one on Saturday
28th and the other on Sunday
29th August. A further sighting was made at
Hastings also on the Sunday. A sighting at East Preston, (West Sussex)
of two Bottle-nosed Dolphins
seen on 21st August
and another sighting at Brighton on Thursday
26th were also reported to us during the event.
These were reported on our new sighting hotline number 07773610036 following
press coverage for the event. As most of these sightings reported two Bottle-nosed
Dolphins, it is tempting to think they
may all be of the same dolphins, but of course its impossible to know.
to the great increase in public involvement and the number of Sussex sightings
reported, this is easily our most successful Sussex Watch in the
last three years of participating in the National Whale and Dolphin Watch.
A big thanks to everyone who took part, telephoned our hotline or kept
an eye out for dolphins over the weekend
contribution to the success of this year's Sussex watches has been due
to funding through the Wildlife Trusts South East Marine Programme, which
is supported by English Nature through DEFRAs Aggregate Sustainability
Fund. This meant we were able to set up and support a larger number of
Sussex watch sites this year. These included Worthing, Shoreham, and Littlehampton
where watches were manned by trained volunteers.
results of the National Watch can be found on the Sea Watch Foundation
website at www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk
Regional Co-ordinator Sea Watch Foundation
County recorder for Marine Mammals
Richardson diving in 18 metres of water off
the South Devon Coast thought he saw the unusual echiuran species known
by the scientific name of Bonellia
viridis. Only the proboscis
was seen, which was about 60 cm long with a T piece 10 cm wide. When touched,
the expandable proboscis recoiled under a rock.
expect most people have not had a chance to see such a bizarre and unusual
of the this species discovered off Norway (to see how bizarre it is)
to the Second Photograph of the extendable proboscis by Rudolf Svensen
"spoon" worm is classified in the Phylum Echiura.
females of Bonellia viridis
are up to 2 metres in length, while the males are merely 1-2 mm (!) and
live as parasites within the uterus of the female! This is the most extreme
size difference between male and female (called "sexual dimorphism") found
in the animal kingdom!
is not only strange things about the bionomics of this peculiar animal.
For more information click on the link below:
viridis Information Page (by René Hessling)
distribution of Bonellia viridis around
the British Isles is unclear. I have not received any reports from divers
in British waters before. although off Norway it will be found in depths
of 25 metres or more. It occurs frequently in shallow water in the Mediterranean
Sea, e.g. off Chios, a Greek island
in the Aegean Sea.
Echiurans (By Erling Svensen)
20 August 2004
night diving at Shoreham beach, West Sussex
I found a bright banded orange and white prawn. It was spinning around
probably to avoid my torch light. This appears to be one of the Prosseca
species which are seen at night. They lack the pronounced rostrum of the
species of prawn.
mola, photograph was taken
on 7th August 2004 about
half a mile off Old Harry Rocks in Dorset. I spotted the Sunfish on the
surface and I have seen them in the same area before. Normally when approached
they swim towards the bottom at high speed. This time the Sunfish swam
towards the boat and even allowed me to touch it, it made no attempt to
swim away. It swam around the boat a few times and came back to the swim
platform again. I could see it had sea lice on its back and I guess it
was trying to get them removed. The fish appeared to be in good health,
a fantastic site to see.
bream is a southern species which is now believed to breed off the south-west
coast of Britain.
the River Hayle in Cornwall, in the evening, I caught three Gilthead
Bream, Sparus aurata, one of about
6-7 cm and two of about 16-20 cm long. All three were released. There
may well have been a large number of the little bream as my bait was attached
by small fish almost every cast.
beach between Worthing and Lancing in West Sussex (on the south coast of
England) seems an unpromising area for rockpooling
but it consistently provides a variety of some of the less usual small
fish and crabs found between the tides. Katherine
Tacita French discovered a young first year
lumbriciformis, which is unusual this
far east up the English Channel.
were unusual crabs as well as more common crustaceans
like small Common Hermit Crabs, Pagurus
bernhardus, and Squat
Lobsters, Galathea squamifera. The
itinerary of discoveries on the low spring tide
can be found on the bucket page.
Anemones on this shore included at least a handful seen of Daisy
pedunculatus, (with mauve/purple columns), and Snakelocks
Anemones Anemonia viridis,
which both reach their most easterly shore distribution at Lancing.
Bucket of Critters
was on the coast at Cwm Nash near Monknash in South Wales south of Bridgend
last Wednesday talking to a Bass angler when he hooked and landed
a Trigger Fish (SS 901702). Looking in books in our Monks Wood library
and pictures on the the internet I am sure that it was a Grey
Trigger Fish, Balistes
being on your web site trying to find info on Triggerfish,
capriscus .I was surprised to see they were
so widespread, my husband and myself often fish of the Mumbles
Pier south west Wales and only last week
my husband caught a triggerfish the weight was just over 4 lb
in weight we did not measure the fish so I cannot give you the length
there have been a lot of Triggerfish caught off the pier the smallest
I have seen has been about 1½ lb. We have noticed that when
you bring the fish out of the water the other Triggerfish seem to follow
we have see in the region of 20 plus fish following one that has
been caught. The bait we have been using are mackerel, squid
and worm but they seem to prefer the squid, I hope this email helps
in your observations on the Triggerfish.
I caught a Triggerfish
on a rod and line without out knowing what it was at first, near Hengistbury
Head near Bournemouth, Dorset. There were three of them swimming together
in the shallow water.
by Lin Roberts
capriscus, we saw underneath the Palace Pier,
Brighton, were of different sizes the larger being darker in colour and
about 30 cm from tooth to tail. They both looked healthy and lively.
Life (Sussex Reports)
reports by Andy Horton unless the credits are given
other observers or reporters.
Links for News
(Cornwall) Marine Conservation Area
of Moray Firth (NE Scotland) News Page
at Sea News Page
Marine Wildlife News
Marine Sightings Archives 2003