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.
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.
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→
It’s amazing to watch the rock pools appear. Just an hour ago, as we ate our picnic on Hannafore beach, two ladies were swimming just a hundred metres away. Now the tide has slipped back to reveal the dark, alluring rocks. An egret flies down to stalk the distant pools and oystercatchers follow, trilling loudly.