Saturday, 11 July 2015

My Cornish Holiday (Part 3)

Prisk Cove
We were told to meet up at a church car park in Mawnan at 2pm for a Cornwall Wildlife Trust group to go on a rockpool session. The thing was, no one told us that there were two churches in Mawnan. There was only one marked on our map. We were waiting at the wrong church! Luckily, we found them in time. I joined them as they set off down a half mile track towards the place the rockpools were at Prisk Cove. But then I noticed that my parents were missing and I had left my mobile behind, so I couldn't find out where they were. They did somehow find us at the cove an hour or so later. Apparently, they had lost the keys for the cottage and was out looking for them! They never found them and we had to make a new one to replace it later that week using a spare the owners gave us when we got back.

Meanwhile, the group and I, led by our expert Ruth Williams, had reached Prisk Cove. We had a quick safety talk and how to find things in the rockpools. The children in the group were eager to go with their parents in close pursuit. I decided to let them find the wildlife, while I followed them and took pictures of their findings.

Ruth gives us a safety talk
Rockpooling is fun!
Periwinkles and a Limpet
Cornwall's rockpools are some of the best in the country. The warmer water attracts many species to this part of the coast and many of them look very exotic compared to what I find in the rockpools of Norfolk. Thanks to global warming, I was shown a new species of crab, called the Montagu's crab (or muscle crab as the locals call them) which has only recently colonised Cornwall in the last decade.

Montagu's Crab
Another Montagu's Crab
Taking your time scanning the pools seems to be the best strategy with the group (though the children were not interested in doing this) and they were finding some great things from crabs to fish. I was not doing so well as I was spending most of the time cautiously planning where to place my next step as I navigated over the rocks and slippery seaweed. I did, however, manage to spot a dog whelk and a clump of snakelock anemones for the children to look at and for Ruth to talk about.

A baby Shore Crab
Hermit Crab hiding in its shell
Shanny (A.K.A. Common Blenny)
Shanny with a Cushion Star
Shore Clingfish (A.K.A. Cornish Sucker)
Pipefish and another Shore Clingfish
Dog Whelk
Snakelock Anemone
Common Prawn
Edible Crab
Yet another Shanny
Spiny Starfish
Some kind of prawn that I have forgotten the name of
Sea Urchin
This Brittlestar did cartwheels on Dad's hand for an escape
My favourite creatures out of the things we found was this candy-striped flatworm. It was absolutely beautiful! I don't know much about it, but that just adds to the appeal. There are so many mysterious creatures out there in our oceans and anything like this can turn up on our shores if you know where to look.
Candy-striped Flatworm

The tide was starting to come in and it was time to leave before we were caught in it. Despite the mishaps, I had a good time and learned a lot. I think everyone should have a go at rockpooling, just be careful where you step and keep an eye on the tide. You never know what you will find and who knows, you may find something that will blow your mind!

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