On the Beach – 25th December 2013

Walked along the strand line from the big wheel to the marina.  Technically the beach was closed – a curious concept, except in times of war perhaps.  The Council had decided to dissuade people from swimming on Christmas morning, a tradition amongst some hardy folk, and put up signs ‘closing’ the beach.

Only a half-heated attempt really - there was a guy camping on the nudist beach and they ignored him.

Only a half-heated attempt really – there was a guy camping on the nudist beach and they ignored him.

I ignored them on the grounds they really wanted to close the sea, and I had no plans to go there.  As I went east more ex-living things appeared amongst the bits of fishing net and line, disposable lighters and pens, drinks cans and plastic bottles.  Lots of flattened, tough grey translucent things about four or five centimetres long.  A search of my two books on seashore life led me to sea squirts or tunicates.  Amazingly they are vertebrates, though I could see no evidence of a backbone.  A very early stage of human development has the growing organism as a mass of cells in the form of an elongated bead, the skin beginning to develop on the outer surface, whilst the hole represents the mouth-to-anus, and inside all the organs are beginning to differentiate.  Tunicates seem to have stopped at about this stage.  A siphon sucks water in, and another expels it, a dark patch inside the grey mass houses all the internal organs.  The outer grey ‘skin’ develops a point where strands grow out and attach the animal to rocks or seaweed underwater.  But well enough to resist the turbulent weather of late.

Two tunicates, perhaps Ascidia conchilega, or even Ascidiella aspersa.

Two tunicates, perhaps Ascidia conchilega, or even Ascidiella aspersa.

Also found a piece of lobster shell, so fresh the cartilage still connected all the pieces, and allowed me to articulate it.  Lovely colours as well.

Lobster held bent

Lobster held bent

and held straightened.

and held straightened.

Found a small shark, well, a dogfish, several starfish and what might be a variety of sea anemone – very fleshy anyway.

fresh, flexible and a rough skin.  Lots of tiny teeth.

fresh, flexible and a rough skin. Lots of tiny teeth.

Starfish

Starfish

Not too sure what this is, but I guess its related to sea anemones

Not too sure what this is, but I guess its related to sea anemones

Also lots of broken and dying bivalves all of the same species, and all with a big, muscular siphon extended.

Battered bivalve, digits for scale.

Battered bivalve, digits for scale.

There was a serious patch of rain, and the dark skies plus sun peeking through gave a good light on the built-over cliff line and houses above.

Beautiful light

Beautiful light

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