Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Thursday, 3 July 2014

A day at the seaside - Thanet seashore safaris

Some of the finds, clay pipe bowl and a stem. Bottom line left to right two slipper limpets , carpet clam and a pacific oyster.

Sea shore safaris are very much now the "in" thing at many seaside resorts where the shoreline  holds an abundance of marine life . With 22 miles  of chalk reef and coastline Thanet can clearly rate in the top ten UK venues with the vast diversity of marine life that can be found on our foreshore.
On these credentials it is surprising that nobody has really thought of this before. But then being local we do take so much of our natural environment for granted.
Since the surge way back in December 2013 I have spent most of my spare time on the beach recording and building collections of the lesser known species from our coastline. This includes my stones of Avalon amber project that is going very well.
So when I was approached by a London  school to act as a guide for a beachcombing trip I jumped at the chance just to show and explain what Thanet has to offer. Beachcombing can be a lonely pastime and I thought it would be nice have a bit of company for a change and many pair of eyes can be better than one. So today was my first trip with a school group, and the group being the Fircroft Primary School Tooting. The venue being the Nayland Rock Margate a flat expanse of rock near Margate main sands and not far from facilities like a toilet and a shelter.
The party arrived at 09:45am, split into three groups and the first group arriving in time for low water. With all groups I was amazed by the  enthusiasm and their adventurous nature  as they searched everything the rocks had to offer, often bombarding me with questions as they foraged the coastline picking up sea shells as if it was treasure. It was unfortunate the tide was on the move for the third group  keeping us closer inshore but I am sure all groups were pleased with the experience and the finds.
A sample of every single sea shell the beach had to offer was found by all the groups. The most popular finds being the Pacific rock oyster and the variety of common whelk shells. They even found rarities for the area and that did surprise me, the most stunning being a small Wentletrap shell.
I learnt a lot from the experience and I am sure they did. As for myself it was a learning curve for  other trips I may do in the future. Overall it was a very good day and they left Margate with a very good impression.


Stephen Ruddick said...

Wow, what an amazing day was had by all from Fircroft. Thank you so much for your time and knowledge, the children have certainly learnt a lot! Hopefully we will get to do this again next year!

Tony Ovenden said...

Yes, Stephen I am up for that. Got a few ideas for improvement already.