It’s the shortest day of the year, but there’s no shortage of colour and life in the rock pools here in Looe.
I try out a pool I’ve not explored before and am blown away by the variety of animals going about their day, searching for food and shelter.
Easily my favourite find of the day is this European three-spot cowrie. Although they’re not uncommon here on the south-east coast of Cornwall, at low tide they’re usually retracted in their shells or abseiling from the rocks on a mucous thread.
To find one fully extended out of its shell, its orange syphon probing the weeds and its leopard-print mantle curled around its shell, is fabulous. I’ve always loved finding these shells washed up on the beach, but the live animal is incredibly colourful. It looks far too tropical for our cold waters.
It’s not a great low tide but this large, shallow pool is ideal for all sorts of creatures.
Everywhere I look, there are more animals going about their business. Hermit crabs scurry past me and a fish takes shelter under my welly.
From now on, the days will get longer, and before long the sea slugs and fish will begin to move in to the shore to spawn. It seems some can’t wait for spring – even today I find a pair of Berthella plumula sea slugs under a stone!
If you’re in Cornwall this Christmas, take a look at the rock pools. You won’t be disappointed.