Thursday, 25 September 2014

Polzeath and the Pool of dreams

Well first we had the 'Cave of Dreams' (at Fistral), then we had the 'Rock of Dreams' (Looe), and now we have the 'Pool of Dreams' found on our Cornwall Wildlife Trust Shoresearch survey at Polzeath on one of the lowest tides I have ever witnessed on this amazing shore.
As you can see from this photo our transect went down onto rocky kelp covered reefs that would normally be well covered by the w

ater and dangerously close to the surf. However on the day of our survey, 9th September 2014, we were lucky to have bright sunshine, high air pressure holding the water down and absolutely zero surf!! In this seaweed smothered shallow but pebbly pool we found an incredible diversity of marine life! Once again highlighting how fascinating rockpools can be in Cornwall!

As our quadrat landed on the pool we began to move the seaweeds and straight away spotted small tadpole like fish swimming away. This is a species that is only rarely recorded and one that I got extra specially excited about!!  Montagu's sea snail - this was named after Victorian naturalist George Montagu. You can see how it got its name as it can look more like a snail than a fish. When its not swimming it often curls up and using its pelvic fins as a sucker is able to hold tight. After a lot of frustrating fishing I finally caught one specimen from the pool! and here it is..

Also found in the pool of dreams -
One graceful sea spider
one Hairy crab
one large isopod Ideotea baltica
Lots of blue rayed limpets
Squat lobster x1
Hermit crabs x4
Saddle oysters
five bearded rockling x1
Velvet swimming crab x1
Shanny x1
Montagus sea snail x5
Sea scorpion x 1
Sea spider

It was great to see Rosie Ellis again back from her travels and volunteering again with the National Trust. Rosie's eagle eyes allowed her to find a very well camouflaged crustacean. A very rare Gibbs spider crab Pisa armata. This has only been recorded a handful of times in Cornwall with a few recent records found by fishermen off Newquay. You can tell by the knobbly surface of the carapace that it is this and not the similar Eurynome aspersa.
Gibb's spider crab Pisa armata photo by Matt Slater

This guy was covered in colonial seaquirts and bryozoans ! 

 closeup of the Gibb's Spider crab Pisa armata. Photo by Matt Slater

Sadly no stalked jellyfish this time in the usual spot! 

Laura was well chuffed with her find! 

A beautiful decorator crab - Macropodia rostrata

Laura's dog lends a hand with the transect

In Polzeath the star ascidians are all this amazing orange/yellow colour!

Clionia cellata - booring sponge

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