Wednesday 26 August 2020

Arctic best of a poor bunch! least so far

Light winds from the west. Mainly dry with some sunshine.

Only my stuff so far, and not much at that - hopefully more later (MD)

Arctic Tern - 1 juvenile feeding on No.2 outflow. At least during mid afternoon

Heysham skeer low water (12:20)
Not much!
Little Egret 8
Great-Crested Grebe 5
Red-Breasted Merganser 2
Eider 5

An area of mussel beds on the north side of the skeer was cleared by early summer storms. This area is now being colonised by Honeycomb worms.
At the moment they are just a few centimetres high.
But this is a potential foundation for a reef, which can reach almost 2 metres.
They are very similar to sand mason worms,
But instead of building their tubes in the mud,
they form colonises on anything solid.
This is a different area on the south side, first colonised last year.
The clumps are getting larger and the reef starting to form.
Over the last 20 years or so there has been a constant conflict on the skeer between the mussel beds and Honeycomb worm reefs. The dominance dictated by the tides and weather each year, at the moment the Honeycomb worm is winning. It wasn't always so, I'd never seen a Honeycomb worm till about the 1980's. They are a warm water species, previously restricted to the south west in England plus the Scottish Western Isles, warmed by the Gulf Stream.
I've never seen anything trying to eat them. You would think that the worm tubes at the edges would be relatively easy pickings.

By the way if any of you use the green marker post at the end of the old pipeline out from Heysham Head - It's gone. Hopefully it will be replaced.