Beach Finds - Shark Fin Cartilage, or not?
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Saturday, September 27, 2014 Adam Tilt 2 Comments
Much to my disappointment, and I'm sure your own, I have to put my hands up to having made a bit of a blooper here. Thank god it wasn't on the internet for all to see. The bone fragment below is in fact part of a birds sternum, species still unknown, not as first suspected shark fin cartilage. In my defence the shape is damned close but alas my inner child will have to accept reality though it's still a fascinating specimen to add to my burgeoning collection. I'll keep the blurb below as at the very least I learned something new about shark physiology and hopefully I can help prevent anyone else from making the same glaring error.
Another of my prized finds from many hours spent beachcombing is this
Unlike you or I the skeleton of a shark is made up almost entirely from cartilage. This has the principle advantage of being lighter than bone meaning that the shark need exert far less energy to propel itself through the water. The animal loses no structural strength however as its skin is so thick that it acts almost like an external skeleton to which all the muscles are attached. This direct connection between muscle and skin is more efficient than typical physiology and is no doubt just another reason for the groups success.
Beach Finds - Gannet Skull
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 Adam Tilt 4 Comments
Beachcombing is an activity that consists of an individual "combing" (or searching) the beach and the intertidal zone, looking for things of value, interest or utility. A beachcomber is a person who participates in the activity of beachcombing. Source: WikipediaWith my love of the coast it is perhaps inevitable, even predictable, that the beachcombing bug would eventually have taken me under its wing. From a very young age we are encouraged to bring back a nice shell or interesting rock from family holidays so it only seems natural to continue that attraction for collecting into adulthood. Of course many of the most fascinating discoveries have to be left in place such as jellyfish or even the WW2 artillery shell I once found on Gower, but there are plenty of other things that worm their way back into our homes. Sitting behind me right now for instance is a bookcase containing everything from an old buoy and pieces of driftwood to my prized Oystercatcher skull which I still can't believe we found completely intact. Last years trip to Mull resulted in another fantastic addition to this collection with the discovery of a Gannet skull at Port Uisken.
Autumn Spring Tides
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Sunday, September 21, 2014 Adam Tilt 0 Comments
Eventually even these small refuges were no more forcing the birds further upriver with me not far behind. As it turned out I couldn't actually get much beyond the old piles of slag behind Penclawdd where at least thirty Pied Wagtails were roosting when not squabbling amongst themselves. In the middle of the chaos sat a single Common Sandpiper, my first for quite a while, with at least nine Little Egrets and four Grey Herons also in attendance. Best of all though was a Kingfisher which shot across the waters surface, an uncommon sight here outside of winter.
Of course we shouldn't forget that these natural occurrences cause untold damage to those whose homes and businesses border such tidal areas. Penclawdd itself is particularly vulnerable and I have mentioned recently that work is currently under way to build a new seawall there. Even so that didn't stop the building site from being completely inundated with water, a hazard of working in these environments I guess.
E is for Lizard?
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Thursday, September 18, 2014 Adam Tilt 2 Comments
Apparently so! I spotted this little chap sunning itself on an orienteering post along the haul road at Kenfig NNR, not a bad find if I do say so myself. Given the truncated length of its tail I would hazard a guess that life thus far has not been without at least some degree of mild peril and probably explains its incredibly wary nature.
Garden Minibeast Safari
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 Adam Tilt 0 Comments
Next up were a couple of Harvestmen which, contrary to what you might expect, are not spiders at all. They do not spin webs, posses no venom with which to attack and have only a single body segment. I've featured a couple of these previously on the blog here and here but this form was a completely new one to me. A cursory glance through the literature however suggests that I'd be entering a potential minefield if I was to try and tie it down to a specific species so for now at least will keep things at a family level.
Rare Crystal Jellyfish at Whiteford
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Sunday, September 14, 2014 Adam Tilt 0 Comments
Tonight I finally got chance to sit down and do some proper research which has led me to the surprising identification of the above as a Crystal Jellyfish. Usually found in the North West Pacific they are extremely uncommon anywhere in British waters let alone off the coast of Gower. The first recorded sighting in Scotland came in 2009 with Cornwall getting in on the act just a couple of months ago. Beyond these scant sightings it seems that the Crystal Jellyfish is a relative unknown so it's worth keeping an eye out on the off-chance that there may be more of these rare creatures out there.
Chasing the Aurora Borealis
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Saturday, September 13, 2014 Adam Tilt 0 Comments
Whiteford - Clouded Yellows and Whinchats
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Thursday, September 11, 2014 Adam Tilt 0 Comments
Slow Worm along the Loughor
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 Adam Tilt 0 Comments
Having posed perfectly we encouraged it back into slightly safer territory as sitting in the middle of a track is never going to benefit your life expectancy. Just ask the individual I ran over on my bike a couple of years ago, though somehow that one escaped completely unharmed!
Patchwork Challenge - Return of the Partridge
Tuesday, September 09, 2014
Tuesday, September 09, 2014 Adam Tilt 0 Comments
With the sun slipping rapidly behind Cefn Drum I headed back down the valley where I encountered what can only be described as a very camp Fox. It walked out of the bushes ahead of me and was clearly oblivious to my presence until it glanced backwards and finally realised the error. Quick as a flash it turned and ran straight into a deep puddle which, judging from the large leap which followed, was not a particularly pleasant experience. Ground regained it tumbled back into cover, pride severely dented but no long term harm done. I was still chuckling to myself when movement on the river caught my eye. Through the by now very deep shadows I picked out a Grey Wagtail, another new patch year tick and a long overdue one at that. I've seen these birds further down in the village on numerous occasions and have been willing one up into my recording area ever since.
55 Species / 56 Points
Cwm Ivy Marsh Seawall Breached
Sunday, September 07, 2014
Sunday, September 07, 2014 Adam Tilt 1 Comments
Move inland though and it quickly becomes apparent that of far more immediate concern is the ingress of huge quantities of salt water into what had been an area of freshwater marsh and grazing pasture. Virtually everything that has been contaminated with salt now sits dead including numerous mature trees and extensive areas of low lying vegetation. Clearly those animals which relied on this habitat have had to move on and any potential restoration will likely take years to achieve with each successive high tide only making matters worse.
Whiteford Wonders - Birds, Insects and Military Helicopters
Friday, September 05, 2014
Friday, September 05, 2014 Adam Tilt 0 Comments
Just a little further down the track Emma spotted a bright yellow butterfly which at the time had us completely stumped as to its identity. With dark borders to its upper wings and the look of a Brimstone beneath, it wasn't until we checked our reference guides back at home that we came up with the name Clouded Yellow. Needless to say this was a completely new species for both of us and a locally rare one at that. Sadly both individuals present spent almost their entire time patrolling a fenced off area so no photos to record the event. A rather showy female Wheatear on the other hand was much more cooperative, right up until a dog scared her and her partner away. Grrrrrrrr.
Lake Vyrnwy and Rhiwargor Waterfall
Thursday, September 04, 2014
Thursday, September 04, 2014 Adam Tilt 2 Comments
Built in the 1880's this immense stone structure was the first of its kind in the world due to the manner in which excess water is allowed to flow over the top of the dam instead of down a channel at its side. The resulting reservoir covers an area of around 600 football pitches and is large enough to be seen from space. More usefully perhaps it also supplies Liverpool with much of its water and today is a designated nature reserve with around ninety species of breeding bird having been recorded within its boundaries.
Castell Dinas Bran - Crow Castle
Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 Adam Tilt 0 Comments
Initial impressions, after obligatory exclamations over the expansive views of course, were surprise at just how large an area the remains actually cover. From way down in the valley you expect a couple of walls and not much else but the reality couldn't be further removed. A large plateau is bordered on all sides with sections of curtain wall while elsewhere a keep and gatehouse are still vaguely recognisable. Nearby sits a trio of enlarged windows leading into the Great Hall which are only surpassed for scale by the 20ft deep defensive ditch along the castles southern border. Cut through rock the effort involved in its construction would have been immense and seems perhaps a little unnecessary given the castles highly defensible position.
Trig Hunting on St David's Head
Monday, September 01, 2014
Monday, September 01, 2014 Adam Tilt 1 Comments
- Hello! I'm a thirty something blogger based in Wales with an avid interest in birds, nature, wildlife photography, walking, mountain climbing and kayaking. I love anything that involves the natural world and being outside, though rain and I just don't get along. We regularly find ourselves venturing to the Isle of Mull and harbour dreams to move there one day soon. This blog aims to share our adventures and, who knows, hopefully inspire a few people along the way.
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- Barrel Jellyfish Strandings on Gower
- Beach Finds - Shark Fin Cartilage, or not?
- Beach Finds - Gannet Skull
- Autumn Spring Tides
- E is for Lizard?
- Garden Minibeast Safari
- Rare Crystal Jellyfish at Whiteford
- Chasing the Aurora Borealis
- Whiteford - Clouded Yellows and Whinchats
- Slow Worm along the Loughor
- Patchwork Challenge - Return of the Partridge
- Cwm Ivy Marsh Seawall Breached
- Whiteford Wonders - Birds, Insects and Military He...
- Lake Vyrnwy and Rhiwargor Waterfall
- Castell Dinas Bran - Crow Castle
- Trig Hunting on St David's Head
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