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Sunday, 2 March 2014

Duckpool – Low tide, no sand

Today, this lunchtime, is the lowest tide of the year forecast to be chart datum 0.0m. I have been anticipating this since I bought my tide table late last year so a visit to Duckpool has been in the diary for some months.

Duckpool - no sand
Duckpool has completely changed. The stream that enters the sea has moved northwards and is deep and fierce where it crosses the pebble ridge. New archaeological features – hearths and flues are revealed, the former upper beach comprised of large boulders is now small boulders and shingle. But, the biggest change is the lack of sand. Up to 2 metres of sand has been stripped off the beach leaving bare rock ridges running to the Atlantic Ocean.

My plan to walk under Steeple Point and look at the Honeycomb worm (Sabellaria alveolata) and the remains of the SS Nettleton were thwarted. The beach is now so much lower that the tide is able to reach further up the beach cutting off the both features. The rocks are almost bare, showing hardly any seaweed and the rock pools are empty. Some Keelworms (Pomatoceros triqueter) and Purple Top Shells (Gibbula umbilicalis), Barnacle sp and a few Limpets were visible.  
Honeycomb worm

I heard Rock Pipits and Oystercatchers and saw a handful of Herring Gulls, but the Fulmars were selecting nest sites under Steeple Point with up to 16 birds on 10 sites.

It will be interesting to see when the sand returns and how the re-colonisation of the beach progresses.

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