Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Rock pooling

We recently went on an educational adventure to one of our local beaches to explore the rock pools. The beach we chose has an interesting chalky foreshore and lots of flints leading to a range of good rock pools and even some fossils.

The children started searching the pools as soon as the tide started to recede, with the hope of finding something new. They were very soon rewarded with something we hadn't seen in a rock pool before... a moon jellyfish... in fact we found several different kinds of jelly fish by the time the day was over.

The jellyfish was quite large, it was approximately the size of an adult hand and you can see the exposed chalk foreshore behind it. Another new sighting for us occurred not long after when we spotted a shedding or moulting shore crab, it was a chance which was too good to miss so we have taken a short video for you to see.

We waited for the crab to move away and hide in the weed and decided to look at the now empty crab shell, it had stayed together and from a distance still looked like an actual crab.

This was a lovely experience for the children and after this we found many crabs that had also moulted and quite a few cast off shells.

There were hundreds of tiny baby crabs all over the pools most of them much smaller than my daughters little finger nail. We also found a few hermit crabs and managed to take a really short video of one for you to see.

As the day went on we had found many of the usual rock pooling finds like anemones, winkles, prawns and even some tiny fish. Although we never seem to find starfish at this beach.

There are a few of our finds in this bucket, although we did have to empty it often to stop it getting too full. Below is a close up of one of the small crabs caught in our net.

As I mentioned before this place is very good for finding fossils, even in the chalk foreshore belemnites are a common find and often get washed out of the chalk after the high tide.

These are some of our fossil finds today, previously we have found sea urchins and sea sponges. This beach is a place of scientific interest because of the exposed fossil beds in the cliffs and we intend to revisit in the Autumn to examine the geology in more detail and see if any fossils have been exposed at high tide. A steppe Mammoth was found in the freshwater fossil beds at the base of these cliffs a few years ago and the children are quite excited to see where it was found.

You can read more about West Runton here, this site also directs you to good sites to explore for fossils in your area.

The photographs and videos on this post were taken by my wonderful husband.

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