Seasonal Almanac

Minor heat: warm wind arrives (4 of 5)

January 9th, 2009


[click on image to play video]

In the spirit of discovery, we went on a beach walk along the coast in Wombarra/ Scarborough this afternoon at low tide. Beginning at the Wombarra pool, we walked North passing the main beach that can be accessed through Haig Street. Beyond the Life-surfing patrolled area, the beach front ceases to be accesible by road. It gradually becomes rocky.

The low tide does not only allow one to cut across the headlands, it also presents an opportunity for examining marine life. Different types of seaweeds littered along the beach. Blue bottles, large and small, formed a jewelled line in the shape of the lapping waves. As we strolled along, we came across a dead muttonbird or short-tailed shearwater (Puffinus tenuirostris). These birds travel around 15,000 kilometers each year, migrating from the Berring Strait to nest in South-east coast of Australia. Once their offspring reach three-months old, they head back to the North around April, travelling the same distance. The fledgings follow a month later. The bird we saw died of exhaustion and stravation during this long-haul flight and was subsequently washed up on our shore.

Only about a hundred meters away, we found a piece of driftwood that was heavily covered with gooseneck barnacles (Lepas australis). It sat on the hot sand, quiet a way from the water. It was obviously deposited there by the earlier high tide. At first, it seemed unremarkable, but on closer inspection I realised the stranded organisms were moving wildly. I examined them closely and could see their long black cord-like peduncles that achored them to the wood. We decided to try to put them back in the water to give them a chance of survival.

Just beyond, the cliff becomes noticeably crumbly. The rocks become more magnificent in colour and formation. We clambered over the rocks and found a cool spot to have lunch and a swim.

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