A sunny start on Sunday morning meant an early rise for us not least because of the added energy it seemed to have provided to the dawn chorus. Chiffchaff, Green Woodpecker, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock and even a flock of Herring Gulls all leant their voices to what was surely a more pleasant awakening than any alarm clock could ever hope to provide. Being in a tent we were in prime position to enjoy the sounds and by just sitting at the door I was able to capture a few of the orchestra on camera.
Once up and about it was back into Lyme Regis for a full day hunting fossils, this time along the coast towards Charmouth. The cliffs there, known as Black Ven, contain the most active landslips in Europe and are a constant source of fresh fossils with Belemnites being particularly numerous. Today was no different and we quickly amassed a sizeable haul from the freshly eroded mud leaving behind for others far more than we collected. The very fact that we were able to do so should give some idea of the productiveness of these cliffs and also hopefully allowed the organised tour behind us to fill their boots as we had ours.
The real fossil highlights though probably came in the shape of two excellent sections of fossilised wood. The larger of these was particularly impressive with both the wood grain and knots clearly visible leaving no doubt as to its origins. I will however have to research the best way of preserving both specimens as past finds of this nature have tended to crumble after drying out.
Needless to say the beach was packed with fellow hunters given it was such a nice day and we were happy to help out others with their finds. It seems that carrying a rock hammer marks you out as an ‘expert’ and no matter how much I protested they were not to be swayed. At least we managed to find one friendly couple their first Belemnites though I didn’t quite have the heart to tell them that their Ammonite was just a rock. We’ve all been there in the beginning believe me.
Of course we couldn’t help but notice other wildlife along the way with a single Canada Goose resting out on the sea probably our most unusual sighting of the day. Up on the cliffs there were plenty of Chiffchaffs calling whilst exposed by the low tide I was pleased to find several colonies of Honeycomb Worms. These master builders have featured on my blog many times before (here, here and here) though sadly these reefs are not as robust as they may at first appear. Storms and human interference can all take their toll so it was somewhat disheartening to see a couple trample right across these just after I’d finished taking my photographs.
Despite it being only a couple of miles between Lyme Regis and Charmouth we managed to spend almost the entire day going back and forth. Let me assure you that checking every rock and mud bank across that length can end up being incredibly time consuming but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.