Thursday, 6 July 2017

July 6th West Runton

Rock pools at West Runton
Norfolk isn't known for it's rock pools. Despite having a chalk reef that stretches for about over 20 miles of it's coastline just offshore of places like Cromer and Sheringham, the longest in Europe, most of the beaches of this county are largely shingled or sandy. If you want to do some rock pooling in Norfolk, one of the few places that has them is West Runton. With every low tide, a small area of these special pools are revealed, which contains many creatures waiting it out for the high tide to return.

Rock pooling in action!
Though the best places to rock pool in the UK, in my opinion, are around Cornwall, never underestimate a Norfolk rock pool. There are still some great things to be found if you know where to look. Of course, you must always be aware of the returning tide and to be careful when walking over the slippery rocks and seaweed and to put everything back where you found them. The last time I was here, back in 2011, I fell backwards taking my dad with me. I do not want to repeat that again, so I am wearing more appropriate footwear this time around.

Dad doing the same!

Edible Crab (2011)
The main reason I was rock pooling here today was to find two of my invertebrate targets; the edible crab and the common starfish. The edible crab, in particular, is a big part in Norfolk's heritage. How can I dare leave out the famous Cromer crab from my list! Unfortunately, we were unable to find one (or a starfish at that matter) this morning, but back in 2011 (before falling over), we were much fortunate. It was a whopper!

Common Hermit Crab

The main highlight from today's rock pooling session was finding a few hermit crabs. I had no idea that these crustaceans even existed in Norfolk. I thought they were more of a regular around the southern coastline of England, but it seems that I was wrong, unless, of course, global warming has caused them to spread further north. But it was still quite a surprise when we started seeing shells with legs moving about near our feet.

Shore Crab
We also found the other usual suspects that you would expect to find in an average British rock pool. There were hundreds of periwinkles, barnacles, limpets, sea anemones and a few shore crabs and shrimps. Though I was unable to tick off a starfish or an edible crab from my invertebrate challenge list, I was still happy exploring this unique secret world for a couple of hours or so.

Some sort of amphipod
Common Shrimp
Beadlet Anemone
What one looks like underwater!
Common Limpet
Coral Weed

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