Sunday, 21 August 2011

Is it a bird, is it a plane...?

I was walking along the banks of the river adur today and saw the most extraordinary sight. I saw a shape coming from the distance.
First I thought is it a it a plane... its...well actually it was sort of both.

As it came nearer I saw that it was a man in a microlight a bit like a hang glider with an engine. Flying alongside him were a flock of geese.

I found out later that this was part of the airshow at Shoreham. This was Christian Moullec who has been training barnacle geese to follow his microlight. They are orphaned chicks that have been raised from chicks who imprinted on Christian and the microlights.
This is what baby geese usually do with their mother. Christian hopes to use what he learns to help rare geese (such as the white fronted geese) to migrate to new area starting new colonies in other areas.

I thought this was really amazing.

Bye for now

Ed the Bear

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Exploring local beaches

Hi all

I have been exploring our local beaches with my buddy Steve. As you know I have visited some amazing places in my travels, coral reefs, ship wrecks and many different coastlines in the in the US and Hawaiian Islands.
But I did not realise just how much wildlife we can find on our own beaches here in the UK. As you know my local beach is covered in a rare habitat called vegetated shingle but this only grows above the high tide line. There is very little beach exposed at low tide, so I have not seen much seashore life. However, this year I have seen some amazing marine life on other local UK beaches.

So here is some of the wildlife I experienced this year with my buddy Steve.

These are some of the seabirds I saw on Kingston beach, not far from the nature reserve, in a small bay inside Shoreham harbour.

This is a little egret, it stalks along the edge of the incoming tide catching small sea creatures in its long sharp beak.

We also saw this sandwich tern resting on the sandy mud

In the river, we saw this cormorant catch and eventually eat this eel.
I never thought it would manage it and the eel put up a fight but eventually the cormorant gulped it down.

These ringed plovers were on the vegetated shingle

There are other fascinating animals on Kingston Beach, inside the harbour.

This is a shore crab

This chalk is poking through the pebbles
I was amazed to find these piddock shells that burrow into the soft chalk to hide from predators.

This is a sea anemone, closed up because it has been uncovered by the tide

These sea defences provide places where animals can live

Here you can see some dog whelk eggs. The white shell behind is an adult dog whelk. They are predators, they eat mussels by drilling a hole through their shell. You can see where a dog whelk has drilled a hole into the mussel shell in the picture. The dog whelk has a special tongue with teeth for drilling.

The snakelock anemone is living in a pool at the bottom of the defence. This anemone cannot close up when exposed by the tide and the stings on its tentacles may hurt. You can recognise it by the purple tips. The tentacles are green because they have an algae living inside them - just like coral. 

This clam lives in the sand, it burrows using its foot and feeds from the tubes

It was good to know that we have such fascinating wildlife living on your local beaches. Why not visit your  local beach and see what you can find. You can leave me a message and tell me about what you have seen.

Bye for now

Ed the Bear