We left our campsite on bikes and rode to Wingaersheek Beach. If you arrive on bicycle, you will not be charged an admission fee. Bicycle parking is scarce, though, and we had to lock our bikes halfway up a “resident parking” sign.
We arrived near low tide and got to exploring the tide pools around a few large boulders. Even with its clever camouflage, a sand shrimp (Crangon septemspinosa) could not hide from us. This species of shrimp is commonly found in our shallow waters. Its color varies, probably to better blend in with its sandy surroundings.
The water in the tide pools was surprisingly warm. The boulders were too large to lift and explore under, so we had to quietly wait for creatures to emerge.
Large sections of the boulders, which would be under sea water at high tide, were covered by northern rock barnacles (Semibalanus balanoides).
The barnacles at the very top seemed devoid of occupants. Maybe they had dried out or perhaps been eaten. A few small periwinkles were using them as caves.
We found a number of common periwinkles (Littorina littorea) on the rocks and at the bottom of the tide pools. Periwinkles are sea snails; this species originates in Europe and has greatly changed the ecology of our beaches.
After being held for a while, the periwinkle emerges to figure out why it is so far off the ground.
We found long-clawed hermit crabs (Pagurus longicarpus) in the tide pools further off-shore. These crabs scurry to find shells that fit them, using the shells as homes until they outgrow them. This one didn’t wait too long until it peeked out.
Unfortunately, a long line of storm clouds interrupted our exploration. We’ll have to come back some other time to see what else we can find.
We did see another species of crab on the previous day. We found these green crabs (Carcinus maenas) in the salt marsh at high tide. These crabs can be identified by the five “teeth” along the shell and below each eye. Native to Europe, they are voracious predators, and may do a lot of damage to our local ecosystems.