Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Thanet coastal warden

On Saturday I attended an induction at the Margate Media Centre in King Street to become a volunteer Coastal Warden for the Thanet Coast Project. The Coastal Warden scheme is designed for local people who are enthusiastic about volunteering to safe guard the local coast. Many people attended, each with various levels of knowledge about the coast but all sharing the same amount of enthusiasm. The meeting was pretty straightforward putting forward the Thanet Coast Project objectives and was what expected from a Coastal Warden.
However, one thing that really stood out in the introduction was how unique the Thanet coastline is. This was elaborated by an impressive aerial photograph of the whole island showing the underwater chalk reef that stretches from one end of the island to the other. Something I must admit I have never seen before in such detail and reminds me of photographs of the Australian Great Barrier Reef. I also found the ongoing studies of the changes to our marine environment due to climate change like the population explosion of the Pacific oyster very interesting.

The responsibility of a Coastal Warden is to record and collect data of anything that has an impact on the marine environment this also includes surveys of the marine life and recording data on any incident or event that causes changes to the marine environment. There are over 150 volunteer Coastal Wardens each with designated bays and assigned survey teams, mine is the Ramsgate Main Sands and Westcliff “B” survey.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Two Margate Shipwrecks

I always find researched articles from the Margate RNLI archives excellent reading and this article by Chris Sandwell the Margate Lifeboat Historian makes excellent reading. I may have posted this article before if so I do apologise. However, the whole subject of Maritime Margate is suffering from serious neglect, almost as if it never happened. So if I do repeat myself every now and again at least you understand the motives

Sunday, 17 January 2010

News from Ramsgate Town Council

Ramsgate Town Council has promised to consult with the electorate concerning its plans for the coming year and next years budget proposals.

Meetings for this purpose have been arranged.

Friday 22nd Jan 2010 St Lawrence Church Hall, St Lawrence High Street (Nethercourt Ward)
Tuesday 26th Jan 2010 St Marks Church Hall, Margate Road (Northwood Ward)
Wednesday 27th 2010 Jan Albion House (Pegwell, Central Harbour, Eastcliff & Sir Moses Montefiore Wards)
Thursday 28th Jan 2010 Newington Community Centre (Newington Ward)

all start at 19:00 hrs

Friday, 15 January 2010

Another marine casualty to look out for.

With the recent discovery of thousands of dead Velvet Swimmer crabs along the Thanet Coastline in this recent cold spell , I must admit it has really got me thinking about what has happened in the past and what can we expect in the future. One such casualty I am expecting to find dead on the shoreline this spring is the Lumpsucker.
The Lumpsucker by all accounts is a strange looking fish which looks almost pre historic in comparison to the white fish we are accustomed to. Lumpsuckers appear in our shallow waters during the spring to lay their eggs, the males (top in picture) are around 30cms long and have a lovely reddish colour in the fins and body. The female is larger about 45cm and in our waters is normally darker, a sort of dark blue/grey with a few splashes of yellow in the fins, but colours in the female do vary. They spawn in the deep water gulley's that are filled with kelp just off the low water back. Ideal places are the kelped areas between Botany Bay and Kingsate (crab island) that never drain and also the very low water gulley's off the Nayland Rock. The reason I know this is because I have seen the eggs attached to rocks. When the eggs are laid they are guarded by both male and female, with the male being the most dedicated sentry. Both male and female have a sucker on the underside between the pectoral fins which they attach to rocks. All being well and the spring is mild and enters into summer without any adverse weather conditions everything survives. However, should the weather be mild in late winter /early spring then a cold snap or rough weather, many Lumpsuckers will die because they stay will close to their eggs or just caught out.
Over the course of many years I have found many dead Lumpsuckers and the only good thing I can report is that it can be many years between each sighting. But the pattern does mirror the plight of the crabs and I am expecting to find some dead this year and like all trips from now on I will be taking a camera.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Dead Marine Life

In today's Your Thanet and this weeks Thanet Extra there are two good articles on the dead velvet swimmer crabs that are appearing on are coastline during this bitterly cold winter period. Reading both articles it occurred to me that even though marine life suffers in a cold snap there is very little recorded or knowledge shared of these events. I suppose it due was to the fact that there were not the tools around in the past to record such events . However, as we now all have digital cameras and computers to pool information on these events perhaps now is the time to record events, sightings and form a database on our blogs.
Many of us may remember the hot summer of 1976 but not many people can recall the immediate winter when beautiful fish like the Rays Bream were washed up dead or stunned on the shoreline and in the shallow water. Which all unfortunately went unrecorded.
Last year I did find a dead baby porpoise on the strandline at Sandwich Bay, but I left it where it laid, in peace and decided not to take a photograph and just left it to nature. So there are always things to be found.
Above is a picture of a dead cuttle fish I photographed on Sunday at Palm Bay, a common enough sighting. However, this was one of the big boys and was over 40+ cm in length, and one of the biggest I have ever seen on the coastline. But unfortunately I forgot to put something in the photograph to give it some scale which does make its size in the photograph hard to prove.
On another point it is interesting is how big some of the oysters are getting, during last weeks big tides I found a reef of oysters and most were well over 160 mm a commercial size and like most things on the shore I left them to get on with there natural lives and will keep the location secret.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Brass monkeys

After a week of sub zero temperatures and cold northerly winds, the conditions were perfect this morning for looking for Baltic Amber on the foreshore at Cliftonville. However, instead of depositing seaweed, flotsam and jetsam on the tide line the exact opposite had happened. The tide had completely cleaned the beaches taking everything out to sea leaving only the normal marine life casualties we are accustomed to in cold weather. In Walpole Bay, the marine birds were happily feeding on the Velvet Swimmer Crabs pictured that had been stunned by the cold and washed up into small piles along the beach. In Palm Bay, there were the usual large items washed ashore like a few big lumps of timber and this marker Buoy pictured. Nature had cleaned the beaches well and looking in either direction it was obvious that nothing significant had come ashore, it was just so amazing to see the beaches so clean and natural. Looking out to sea was not so inviting watching the hostile looking waves rolling in off Foreness Point along with some sleet and snow from the North.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Feeling seasick ?


I do love this one, if you think our coastal waters can be rough in the January storms take a look at this.
This is a video of the ferry (The Caribou) operating between Port Aux Basques Newfoundland and North Sydney Nova Scotia . As you watch remember that this is a ferry that carries 1200 passengers with two vehicle decks holding 370 cars.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

The "Northern Belle" 5th January 1857

There are many accounts of the wrecking of the "Northern Belle" on 5th January 1857 which does give it a folklore status amongst those of us interested in Maritime Margate. This account I have attached is by Mick Twyman and was published by the Margate Historical Society in December 2001 , the article includes many Margate seafaring names from a time of iron men in wooden ships. A worthy theme for a cold winters night.
I have also attached a few follow on articles from the same issue, and once again familiar Margate surnames are mentioned.