Category Archives: Wildlife

Cornish Rock Pools visits Brittany – Honeycomb Worm Reef

My son loves the beach at Sainte Anne la Palud; wild dunes stretch towards a distant headland and the sand is perfect for building his creations. It’s why we return here at the end of our holiday in Brittany.

Ste Anne at low tide
The beach is vast at low tide

Last time we came it was a high spring tide and the beach was just a sliver of sand strewn with prickly cockles, sea potato urchins and even a dead eel. Now the sea is at its very lowest, a bare glimmer on the horizon. I walk towards distant low cliffs, expecting to find mussel beds around the exposed headland.

I should know by now that rock pooling can be surprising. Continue reading Cornish Rock Pools visits Brittany – Honeycomb Worm Reef

Cornish Rock Pools on Tour – Trévignon, Brittany

If Cornwall has a cousin, it must be Brittany. The family traits are unmistakeable in the culture, language and, of course, the rock pools, so it seems inevitable that I am drawn to the high headlands, sweeping dunes and granite boulders of the Cornouailles region. With the sun bouncing off the multi-coloured fishing boats behind the harbour wall at Trévignon and the tide dropping, I wander under the towering man-made supports of the lifeboat slipway and nearly drop my camera in excitement.

Oysters at Trevignon, Brittany.
Oysters. Pacific oyster on right.

There are oysters clinging to the seawards side, oodles of them and they’re nearly all the native species, now rare at home due to overfishing and the invasion of the Pacific oyster. Not only that, but among them, reaching out like flowers towards the light are pale pink Devonshire cup corals. At home, I see these occasionally at the back of dark wave-battered overhangs, but these are in the open so I can get in close and marvel at every spoke of their delicate wheel-like markings. It’s a magical moment and I long for a camera with a macro strong enough to capture them. Continue reading Cornish Rock Pools on Tour – Trévignon, Brittany

Pirate Rock Pooling Adventure

The leaves are turning, the swallows are no longer dipping over the rock pools, but this long, warm Cornish summer never seems to end. We set sail from Hannafore over a barely rippling sea in the good ship Red Canoe to seek secret beaches, pirate caves and, of course, photos of interesting marine creatures. Continue reading Pirate Rock Pooling Adventure

Rockpooling With Mum

My mum will be seventy this year, but she cuts a sprightly figure as she steps across the rocks at Castle Beach. In a rare, precious moment we have time together, surrounded by glittering pools and a wide open bay.

Mum exploring Cornish rock pools.
Rockpooling with Mum, Castle Beach, Cornwall.

These are the moments we hoped for not so many years ago when Mum was lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to a blood transfusion to give her the strength to make it through her cancer operation. Continue reading Rockpooling With Mum

Join the search – Help monitor our Cornish Rock Pools

The summer holiday may be over, but there are still some great opportunities to get your feet wet in Cornish rock pools this autumn.

Next week we’ll see some of the lowest tides of the year and Cornwall Wildlife Trust will be making the most of it with a week of Shore Search expeditions to locations around Cornwall. It’s a sure-fire way to find new things and be inspired by like-minded people. Continue reading Join the search – Help monitor our Cornish Rock Pools

Random Rockpooling and a Sad Sight

“Let’s go rockpooling.” It’s a familiar cry in our house, but for once it’s not me saying it.

It’s a luxury to live within walking distance of the beach; a luxury I pined for when I moved away from Cornwall for work in my twenties.

Now I’m back and any time the tide is low I can wander down to the shore and rummage in the kelp and pools. Often, though, life gets in the way. Even when conditions are perfect, there are jobs to be done, people to see, deadlines to meet and the rest of the family to consider. They enjoy rockpooling, but I sometimes suspect they maybe don’t love it to the same extent I do. Continue reading Random Rockpooling and a Sad Sight

Boiling Seas and Shipwrecked Sailors

There’s no mistaking a change in our rock pools this week. There’s a new chill in the Cornish sea breeze. The shrill cries of swallows swooping over the water and children jumping the waves will soon fall silent as the days shorten and the autumn gales brew. The seas, however, are bursting with life.

Stranded fish
A fish stranded in a Cornish rock pool

Continue reading Boiling Seas and Shipwrecked Sailors

Where have all the Common starfish gone?

Sometimes it’s what you don’t see.

Common starfish
Common starfish

It’s been a great summer for finding starfish. All season I’ve been taking snaps of giant spiny starfish and watching brittle stars walk across the sea bed. I’ve placed cushion stars into eager palms, enjoying the giggles as children feel tickly tentacle-feet for the first time. Continue reading Where have all the Common starfish gone?

UK rarity, the Crystal Jellyfish turns up in Cornwall

Check out these amazing photos of the rare Crystal Jellyfish (Aequoria sp.) taken by Claire Lewis of Cornwall Wildlife Trust in a rock pool on Looe Island.

Crystal jellyfish in a rock pool at Looe Island, Cornwall
Crystal Jellyfish, Photo by Claire Lewis. Looe Island.

Crystal Jellyfish are common in the northern Pacific Ocean but are rare in UK waters. Continue reading UK rarity, the Crystal Jellyfish turns up in Cornwall