Saturday, 31 October 2015

Whale bones and wild waves

We've been in the west of Ireland for the last few days and managed to spend some time at the beach. The plan was to do some rock pooling and beach combing, but the first day we got too distracted by the huge waves. It was relatively calm on the beach, but there were massive waves breaking just out to sea, so our rock pooling turned into wave racing.

Making a run for it
That part of the coast is called the Wild Atlantic Way and it certainly lived up to its name!

Even the oystercatchers were racing the waves with us, although they eventually saw sense and moved up to the top of the cliff.

The rock pipits couldn't care less and hopped from rock to rock on the beach.
Rock pipit
The second day the waves had died down, but it was blowing a gale on the beach. Undeterred we set about some rock pooling and beach combing at Lahinch and I joked with Bug Mad Girl that she might find a whale washed up after all that rough weather. She came pretty close and found a large vertebrae which I think must have come from a whale!

She was very excited to find it and was determined to bring it home with her. She said it'll make an awesome show and tell at school ... when the teacher asks what she did over half term she can whip that out of her school bag! We'll have to try and work out what it came from when we get home.

Lahinch is in the Burren, so the beach has an area of typical Burren limestone pavement on it, making it great for rock pooling. We found all sorts of great things including anemones, mermaid's purses and a hermit crab in a periwinkle shell.

Strawberry anemone

Beadlet anemone, showing the ring of blue beads just below the tentacles
Mermaid's purses - the egg cases of small-spotted catsharks

Hermit crab living in a periwinkle shell

He eventually came out of his shell
It goes without saying that BMG got completely soaked, even though she was wearing wellies. It just wouldn't be rock pooling if your wellies weren't full of water!

We weren't alone on the beach as there were lots of little turnstones all around us. They're so well camouflaged that you could easily miss them though.

 Less easy to miss was the pair of curlews with their amazing beaks!
Curlew and a gull

We had a scream at Lahinch beach!


  1. Fabulous photos. How exciting to find a whale bone. I hope BMG's teacher is suitably impressed!

    1. Thanks - it was a pretty exciting find!