My walk this week is from Swansea Bay – it wasn’t the brightest or warmest of days but it was definitely a calm day at the beach. You can see from the sea that it was flat calm and the incoming tide featured not so much waves as ripples – it was very peaceful.
Fortunately Swansea Bay is quite expansive and this meant that all the people taking advantage of being allowed out (lockdowns and all that) still had plenty of space between them. I’m not sure how much the birds appreciated the calm weather – certainly the gulls seemed a bit irritable, bickering between each other as they do. It always appears to me that when the wind is up, if anything enjoys the blusters and gusts by the sea, it is the gulls more than anything else.
The colours in the images below show a darker day than it felt, but they are calm. The textures and perspective seen on the beach from thousands of worm casts really excited me but I did not get a satisfactory close up.
I really love your opening picture of worm casts – I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many on beaches around here. How amazing, and I wonder what the key feature of the environment is for them being so successful is? High levels of organic matter in the water nearby? Or something else?
Thank you Julian. These things are certainly important to understand, but for me all I need is the beauty and fascination of their appearance. Hmm, and the knowledge that I am not doing anything to harm them like mucking up the ocean! Yep science and understanding is very important to us.
Quite. But I agree that particularly your first image is visually wonderful – as I’ve said many times before, you have a wonderful eye for spotting these patterns.
I love it when the beach is almost covered in worm casts. It makes it look so different.
Totally agree. I’ve seen it before on Swansea beach but not for a while. Thank you
Wonderful, Alastair. Your Swansea Bay is like our Mutiny Bay!
Now if you would just convert your video to a sound loop I could use that as creative background noise all the good long day.
Or you could just go down to Mutiny Bay Thank you Diane
I wondered what all those mounds were. 🙂 Glad you can keep getting out. I’d go mad if I had to stay inside all the time. Have a wonderful weekend.
Thank you Janet. The worm casts are quite cool aren’t they. Yes the lockdowns are easing here – are they still in force for you?
Pretty much everything is open here. Masks can be required by businesses but not by local or state governments. But in Arizona we never had the sort of lockdowns Europe did.
I had so much fun with this post, Alastair. I have never been on a beach (U.S. west coast) where there were worm casts. I think they are very cool and your photos were great fun. I was all over the internet to learn more about this phenomenon. I learned that they are a UK thing, and the worms are called lugworms. And there are two kinds of lugworms, a fact that was noted not that long ago, in 1993, by researchers at Swansea University. Fascinating. They are an asset to the environment, not only for fishing bait, but also for their ability to aerate the soil. They do occur in No. Amer. but I didn’t discover where. I also really enjoyed the peaceful nature of your video and soundclip, the gentle waves, the lapping water and rippled sand, the crows in the photo and the gulls in the audio. Lovely post, and most educational. Thanks so much.
Thank you Jet. I hadn’t appreciated there was such a close scientific link to Swansea with the lugworms – that is good to hear. I am used to seeing people digging for lugworms all around the UK coast but it hadn’t occurred to me that this is not a worldwide phenomenon.