of dolphins were observed in the sea off Widewater
Lagoon, Lancing, Sussex at 2:00 pm
in the afternoon. This was an unusual event off the Sussex coast and most
occasional observations have been in the summer months. Pods of dolphins
have been seen off Selsey Bill, West Sussex in the last few days. "Skein"
is the term used by the observer and I have not known this collective noun
Report by Brian Street (Shoreham)
Marine Life Study Society News Reports Winter 2004
Valley Nature Notes (January 2004)
Auk settled on the sea off Widewater
Lagoon at 1:00 pm.
were a couple of birdwatchers on the shingle beach
at Shoreham each with high powered scopes on rigid tripods (the stability
is important even in a gentle breeze) looking out to sea. One of them reported
thirty or so Guillemots and Razorbills
flying past. Auks fly past during the winter months but it is difficult
to identify them from the shore.
single Mute Swan
was drifting with the current offshore of Widewater
Lagoon. It is uncommon to see Mute Swans
on the sea itself.
is washed ashore on Brighton beach at approximately 3.00
pm. The report initially came to me from a
local restaurant owner (who had received information earlier in the year
to increase public awareness and participation, including our hotline number,
as part of our cetacean data logger pilot project).
Whale and Dolphin Watch
Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service
were able to secure a line around the dolphin and pull it from the sea
and up the steep shingle slope of the beach.
decomposing dolphin appeared to be a male and estimated to be about
3 metres long. At first glance it looked like a Bottle-nosed
Dolphin however there was a patch of black
skin behind the dorsal fin, which suggested it could have been a Striped
Dolphin, which are occasionally washed ashore
SHOREHAM FISH FESTIVAL on Coronation
West Sussex, was attended by an estimated 4,000 people in the sunshine
as the high six metre spring tide filled the river just before 1:00
pm. The British Marine
Life Study Society held an aquarium display
and despite technical problems with a very high plankton content in the
water (which meant the large wrasse could not
be displayed) the exhibits were well received by the younger age group.
event was organised and run by Shoreham Fisheries Project (David
O BOX 12, BRIGHTON, BN41 1WW
Horton appeared on BBC
Southern Counties Radio to discuss the marine life of Sussex and the
work of the British Marine Life Study Society.
dived Shoreham beach by the Church of the Good Shepherd in the early evening
and saw Cuttlefish of all sizes, Sepiola
atlantica and some young squids possibly Loligo vulgaris. Also
shoals of Sand Smelt,
Ray, Plaice and Sole,
17 September 2003
specimen of the nudibranch Thecacera
pennigera is observed on the Brooklands sea outfall pipe, on
the Lancing/Worthing border, West Sussex. This small sea
slug is probably overlooked and of a sporadic occurrence rather than
uncommon, but this is the first record I have for the local coast, and
I have never seen one on the shore, where it would be notable.
Worthing, on a shallow water dive site known as the Worthing Lumps, a small
school of Rock Cooks (Small-mouth Wrasse),
exoletus, were seen shyly swimming by
the rock face, quite unlike the bolder Corkwing,
melops (=Crenilabrus), and Goldsinny
Wrasse, Centrolabrus rupestris.
inconspicuous wrasse have not been recorded off
the Sussex coast before and the books state that is fish is only known
from the southern and western coasts of Britain. They may have been overlooked,
but they are certainly not a common occurrence. There have been no records
of juvenile fish in Sussex rock pools, where
first year fish are very common and Ballan
Wrasse, Labrus bergylta,
juveniles occasionally discovered.
whale skull was landed at Shoreham
(Monteum's Wharf, River Adur) from a small (under
10 metres length) trawler fishing three miles off Brighton Marina, Sussex.
Details and Photographs
whale skull was eventually identified as that of the Fin
travelling out from Littlehampton marina on Friday night, we passed four
very large Rhizostoma octopus
and counted 21 Compass Jellyfish, Chrysaora
hysoscella, over a period of an hour.
octopus (=R. pulmo)
Saturday morning we went armed with cameras. Within 20 minutes we had found
three Rhizostomas. The last two were close enough to see the juvenile
fish swimming alongside. We dived with the third Rhizostoma for
about 30 minutes. It stayed within the top three metres of water.
saw a third as we headed back to the marina on a different heading.
also spotted eight Compass Jellyfish.
sea was exceptionally clear and several large (40 cm + in diameter) Rhizostoma
octopus were seen off Littlehampton.
by Brian Street
was the hottest day of the new millennium when the temperature reached
30.6° C at 5:57 pm
with a gentle breeze. Humidity fell to 39% so it was quite pleasant outside.
Beach Weather Station
surprising with the warm weather, many people who are not at work and children
on holiday made their way to the beach where the
estimated sea temperature was 19° C, possibly rising to 21° C inshore
over sand. Weever
Fish are around and there were several
reports of people being stung by this fish that lives in the sand with
its venomous black dorsal fin sticking above the surface on which the bather
may have the misfortune to step on.
being sting by large Weevers
the pain is described as excruciating for the first two hours after which
it subsides and rarely causes permanent injury. The
pain can be relieved by immersing the foot in hot water at 40° C.
This fish is common on sandy coasts all around Britain.
of the Weever Fish
are loads (probably over a thousand) of Moon
aurita, in Shoreham harbour, with
the four pink rings (the gonads)
visible in many specimens.
officinalis, merged from their black egg cases in shallow water
by the Brooklands outfall pipe, at the east Worthing/Lancing border. A
large Little Cuttlefish,
atlantica, was feeding on a worm and then a beautiful Squid
in front of my torch. There were many Eels
amongst an amazing variety of juvenile fish: Bib
(Pouting), Plaice, Sole
dived off of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Shoreham Beach, in an area
we are familiar with. There were areas that appeared like the chalk bedrock
was exposed under the sand but on closer inspection was white sand? The
casts were an unusual marbled mixture of colours. The reef there was particularly
stony last October 2002
but now we only see a few pebbles. The "weed" growth is still in the same
saw two Common Eels
but they were buried in the sand with just their heads sticking out. I
have never seen this behaviour before. Whilst photographing the Eels
I discovered that the sand was in fact a soft black mud which you could
push your whole hand into, easily up to my wrist.
saw only two young Undulate Rays.
We also saw a juvenile Lumpsucker
10 mm long. with some Plaice, Sole,
Wrasse, and a beautiful shoal of silvery
herring or sprats (40 mm long ). My buddy helped a baby Cuttlefish
escape from its small black egg.
species of sea anemone were spotted: many Sagartia
troglodytes, Dahlia Anemones
(10) and two Snakelocks Anemones. At
a depth of four metres, the sandy areas within the weed had many
exposed Sand Mason
worms but the sand appeared as if it had been "brushed" all in the same
direction. There were Edible
Crabs and large Shore
Crabs, and a display of the attractive
Worms, but on the whole the reef was fairly lifeless compared to other
dive sites off the Sussex coast.
caught a Twaite Shad, Alosa
fallax, from off the beach at Brighton.
Shad (click on the image for a closer look)
was about 48 cm long and like an oversized herring. Its scales were very
large (I kept some as they came off easily on handling).
Twaite Shad is a rare endangered migratory fish rarely caught in the English
Channel. It is the commoner of the two shad species found in British waters.
The other species is the Allis Shad, Alosa
the Twaite Shad and the Allis Shad are listed on Appendix II of the Bern
Convention and Annexes II and V of the Habitats Directive. They are protected
under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.
Information and Later Report
FOR FOOD AND FUN
shrimper Peter Talbot-Elsden, from Southwick, has produced a small booklet
called “Shrimping for Food and Fun” about catching the brown shrimp
around the coasts of Britain. The shrimps are caught in nets and the book
features the various methods, firstly the push-netting seen over the sand
in shallow water in spring off Southwick, Shoreham and Lancing. The famous
Morecambe Bay shrimps were originally captured by cart shanker shrimping
with a horse and cart in deeper water off the Lancashire coast, later replaced
by a tractor. At Formby, they experimented with amphibious vehicles after
World War II. Nowadays, most commercial shrimping on the east coast around
King’s Lynn trawls from small boats using a net off the stern. Shrimps
are often cooked on board.
28 page book contains 40 photographs of shrimping through the ages. It
is available through Bookworms of Shoreham and other local booksellers
booklet is also available through the British
Marine Life Study Society, but at £4 including postage and packing.
Talbot-Elsden manned the shrimp display at Adur
World Oceans Day.
jellyfish with a bell diameter of 45 cm and one metre long was spotted
off Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, at 7:00
pm. It was creamy white with a pink-blue rim
so it was almost certainly the Barrel Jellyfish,
octopus. These large jellyfish are
only occasionally encountered off the Sussex coast.
fish were discovered in the shrimp net (push-net) haul in the sea off Widewater
beach. Weever fish are silvery with a black venomous fin and spines. The
can impart a nasty sting on the unwary and bare foot paddler over the sandy
of the Weever page
aper, died after its aquarium sprung
a leak in the middle of the night. (It was caught in November
bathed in a heat wave up to
C for the opening of the Adur Festival and
World Oceans Day 2003 on Coronation
Green, Shoreham-by-Sea. About
3000 people attended the event that was steady and busy throughout.
included live fish and lobster in aquaria, colouring and badge-making,
and dolphins, birds, shrimps, fish-tasting, touch-table, Shoreham shingle
beach flora and undersea colour photographs and videos.
thanks to all the participants, especially Len Nevell (British Marine Life
Study Society) and Steve Trewhella (Marine Conservation Society). The inflated
dolphin was provided by Steve Savage (Sea Watch Foundation).
groups had special exhibitions including the:
Marine Life Study Society including Shorewatch
Sussex County Council Countryside Unit
Watch Foundation (for Whales & Dolphins)
Sea Fisheries District Committee
Search (Undersea Biological Recording)
& District Ornithological Society
Oceans Day 2003
am - 4:00 pm
Information File on Adur World Oceans Day
Information File on Adur World Oceans Day
receded as far as I have known it uncovering all the rocks on Lancing
Beach. It was too dark to explore the exposed shore properly, but juvenile
Clingfishes (probable ident.) were
present under rocks, with hundreds
of crabs and a chiton,
full sized Acanthochitona crinita.
The chiton is 29 mm long and 20 mm at its widest part. The sea anemone
troglodytes was common and the Snakelocks
Anemone frequently seen.
green blobs are the egg case of a worm
a few rocks for aquarium props in fading light, a moonless evening under
torchlight, there were dozens of Squat
Lobsters, Galathea squamifera, and
at least one red-eyed Velvet
puber. I thought that I picked up
two, but the following day, I noticed that the crab had pale blue eyes
and this I now think may be a different crab altogether, Liocarcinus
arcuatus, the Arch-fronted
Swimming Crab which I have never discovered
before, nor have I heard reported before from the shore. The
identity of this crab has been confirmed by Dr.
capture on rod and line by Peter
Weight of a Boar
Fish, Capros aper,
from Hove beach is the very first record of this fish caught from the shore
off Sussex. The books
say that this fish lives in depths of over 100 metres and as there are
no seas of this depth on the English
side of the English Channel. This pretty little red
and silver fish about 55 mm long, excluding
its caudal fin, large eye and large mouth, with a spiky first dorsal and
vibrating second dorsal and second anal fins (vibrating like the dorsal
fin of a pipefish). Although this fish is rarely
caught, it is abundant in deepish water (on the edge of the continental
shelf in the western approaches of the English Channel) and it is just
that normal fishing methods do not capture this small fish. All records
and especially all live records from the shore or on dives, and all Sussex
records are newsworthy.
fish is thriving in the BMLSS private aquarium (Shoreham-by-Sea).
This fish is rarely on display in British Public Aquaria
and the only known display of this fish was for several years at Mevagissey
Sussex Record of a Boar Fish
Report from the Channel Islands
Summer summer preceding some of the highest and lowest equinoctial
spring tides for over 20 years was too good a rockpooling
chance to miss as low tide receded to Chart
Datum about 6:00 pm,
just before an attractive red sunset.
low tide on Lancing beach revealed shallow
pools and rocks covered in weed, but it was the push-net in shallow water
that provided the most interesting discoveries including an attractive
Sepiola, that squirted
five dollops of ink in the temporary aquarium, and my very first discovery
of the South-claw Hermit Crab,
pugilator, on the Sussex coast. A 5-Bearded
Rockling discovered by Jan Hamblett
in a shallow pool on Lancing beach was over
20 cm in length.
Seal Report 2002
the beach this morning to check the sea state for diving when I noticed
I was being watched by a seal, bobbing in front of me. I first saw it in
the surge five metres from the shore, in front of the new sea defence works,
east of the Widewater Lagoon. A fisherman in
a boat must have just passed the seal moments before I had arrived, maybe
he gave the seal some titbits?
was a Harbour (Common) Seal, Phoca
vitulina, as I have photographed Grey
Seals many times and this seal is different.
Seal Report 1996
beach on the seaward side of Widewater, four Undulate
Raja undulata, were seen
in the shallow water.
Sharks and Rays
Rays, Raja clavata, 300 mm across
the wings were seen in very shallow water (3 metres depth ) off Shoreham
an overfriendly Greater Pipefish,
acus, which coiled around my friends neck, then swam straight into
the camera, then swam up to the surface where its mouth came up out of
two night dives beneath the Palace Pier, Brighton, we found small groups
of Squid, Alloteuthis subulata.
Their colours changed very quickly from white/transparent to speckled red.
Many (20) Little Cuttles,
atlantica, were seen with a pair were captured on film possibly
mating or fighting?
lucerna, was seen under the Palace Pier.
finally by sliding my hand under its belly, Lesser
Weever fish Echiichthys vipera: I counted a good dozen in
approximately two square metres, quite worrying as I had my hand on the
sand to steady myself whilst photographing Little Cuttles.
Octopuses and Squids
August 2002 a species of this jellyfish was
at a depth of 6 metres over 15 metres of water at the Waldrons, off Littlehampton,
the Palace Pier, Brighton, we saw two jellyfish
moving very slowly. They were very large we estimated them to be about
130 cm (4-5 feet) in a diameter, a large white dome, medusa with a dark
rim, with strange white panel type of things below and then short pale
blue tentacles. This is the species Rhizostoma
this size may be overestimated.
seal, probably a Common (or Harbour) Seal,
vitulina, is spotted off Lancing beach
between the breakwaters at high tide by the Golden Sands Caravan Park.
It was mistaken for a dog at first which is often the case. Seals are a
rare sight off the mid-Sussex coast, but a few have been seen off Shoreham
beach before. The nearest rookery is a small group of seals in Chichester
harbour which are occasionally seen around Selsey (Seal Island).
- 28 July 2002
Whale and Dolphin Watch Weekend
here for full details of the National Whale and Dolphin Watching Weekend
and how you can get involved.
Sea Watch Foundation are inviting you to take part in the UK's first ever
National Whale and Dolphin Watch Weekend, aimed at providing a snapshot
picture of the numbers and variety of whales, dolphins and porpoises to
be seen around the British Isles.
Porpoises were seen from the Brighton
Marina on the 28 July 2002
by a Sea Watch Volunteer Helena Ellis.
A group of Harbour Porpoises best group size estimate 4 (minimum size 3
maximum size 6) were seen offshore for 3 minutes passing the Marina in
a NW direction. About an hour later at 11.30 am, a group of 6 Harbour Porpoises
were seen heading west (possibly the same group). They then changed direction
several times, eventually heading towards the shore and were observed for
about 30 minutes. It appears that they might be feeding, Small fish were
observed leaping out of the water and anglers also caught a few Mackerel.
sightings were made during the five and a half hour group watch that I
ran from the same site the previous day (27
July 2002). No sightings were recorded
the Eastbourne group watch on Sunday 28 July
large number of Dabs,
were caught by Jeff, an
angler off Shoreham Harbour Arm, a least 10 over 30 cm long were taken
home as large enough to make a decent meal. This flatfish are caught until
February inshore off Sussex. Smaller fish were also caught.
was seen off Brighton beach, Sussex in the English Channel. This is outside
the normal range of all species of pinnipeds. It was swimming between Brighton's
two piers heading east to west. The seal swam at the surface and dived
on occasions and appeared to be in good health. They have been seen as
occasional vagrants before, notably off Shoreham
a few miles to the west.
Marine Life Study Society News 2001
Balistes capriscus, in fine condition were discovered inhabiting part
of the undersea chalk cliff face known as the Worthing Lumps, about 3 miles
off the Sussex coast. About 15 adult fish
were found, most of them inhabiting the rock crannies in the clear cold
(12° C) water, but one fish ventured
out into the open. Divers rarely have the opportunity
to observe Triggerfish in the winter because of the inclement weather restricts
the diving opportunities.
photographs and Triggerfish information page (link)
bubalis, shown in the photograph above,
with strong colours and patches of white, on the undersea chalk cliff face
known as the Worthing Lumps, about
3 miles off the Sussex coast.
small badly damaged specimen of the Scorpion
was my first confirmed record from the Sussex shore, although it is frequently
discovered in shallow water offshore. This is a small species of long-legged
crab that often associates with
sea anemones. (TQ
crew of the Sussex Sea Fisheries
Protection vessel "Watchful" spot a Bottle-nosed
Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, in
the approaches to Shoreham harbour.
from Brooklands Boating Lake, (1 mile east of Worthing
Pier) Common Terns,
with their distinctive forked tails, swept low over the sea that was showing
the first signs of white horses, and descended to take a feed from just
below the surface in one swift swoop. Black-headed
Gulls, in breeding livery with a completely
dark (brown) head, were attempting the same manoeuvre without the same
elegance. A half dozen Cormorantscongregated
around the post marking the outlet pipe, occasionally diving under. This
is a regular flocking area for these fish eating birds with frequently
up to 29 birds that can be quickly counted.
the sea, Paul Parsons returned from a brief foray with a handful of very
sea anemones, a small (sacoglassan sea slug) sea hare Elysia
viridis, and some other very small
orange anemones with whitish orange tentacles. After close study I think
these are the often overlooked Diadumene cincta.
The mouth is orange in some specimens, but the most useful diagnostic difference
from the similar Plumose Anemones is their instant
jerky reaction when touched.
pair of Mute Swans
with six furry cygnets greeted the workers setting up at the stalls
for Adur World Oceans Day, but as the neap tide ebbed they had disappeared
before the start of the event.
day was overcast with brief periods of sun through gaps in the clouds and
short periods of torrential rain that sent people diving for cover in the
ctenophore (comb-jelly) Sea Gooseberry,
is both ubiquitous and superabundant pelagically in the NE Atlantic Ocean,
but on the low springs (0.4 metre) at Kingston beach
in the early evening was only the second time that I have actually discovered
this animal that appears as transparent globules in the prawn
net. In a miniature aquarium, the two long
tentacles tangle underneath and the swimming combs of this tiny ovoid predator
appear to shimmer. At night it is phosphorescent.
Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group
elongate small fish known as the Butterfish,
because of its slippery nature, or Gunnel (misspelling of gunwhale), Pholis
gunnellus, were present on Kingston beach
on the low spring tide.
sea anemone Diadumene cincta
has been identified and photographed by Paul Parsons off Worthing at a
depth of 3 metres and they possibly occur off Shoreham as well. It is a
small sea anemone that has probably overlooked before or incorrectly identified.
The colony found was very small.
are discovered washed up on the Sussex coast at Brighton.
This has happened before, but not in the last 20 years. About 50 were discovered,
but there were likely to be more.
up to 2 kg, cruised into the entrance of Shoreham Harbour, (TQ 235 048)
scattering the shoals of Sand Smelt,
presbyter. The anglers were catching the attractively patterned Sand
Smelt at a length of 16 cm (excluding the caudal fin).
Jellyfish, Aurelia aurita, are in Shoreham harbour.
small pod of Dolphins were spotted near Hove Lagoon.
to Sussex Dolphins Page
Wildlife Forum of the NE Atlantic commences.
Oceans Day 2000 (at Shoreham)
on the text for more information
A 3 metres* long female Mako
Isurus oxyrinchus, (the consensus
now seems that it is a Porbeagle) was caught three miles
off Brighton by cod fishermen and brought into Monteum Fish Market at nearby
The shark weighed 172 kg (378
lb). The largest shark normally caught
in Sussex seas is the Tope, Galeorhinus
galeus, and then only occasionally. Rarely Porbeagle Sharks,
nasus, have even been caught, but this is my first report of a Mako.
in the Shoreham Herald.
One report said 2.2 metres, excluding the tail fin?]
to Shoreham Herald
On further examination the shark looks like a Porbeagle. Andy
consensus now seems that it is a Porbeagle.
Herdson, Marcus Goodsir, Pål Enger, Steve Barker & others. 16/2/99.
Porbeagle Sharks were landed at the fish market in Plymouth from September
1998 to February 1999, the largest being a female of 243 cm (115 kg). Doug
Porbeagle has a secondary caudal keel. The Mako is a southern species,
whereas the Porbeagle is a temperate water species and found all around
the British Isles.
Sharks in the News 1998
1998: Large Bass continue to be taken from the shore and piers
at Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex. The latest weighed 6.35 kg (14 lb).
1997. A Sea Bass, Dicentrarchus labrax,
weighing 7.94 kg (17 lb 8 oz) was caught on rod and line
by Thang Nguyrn of Shoreham-by-Sea from Brighton Marina. This is a very
Torpedo nobiliana, was caught with some difficulty, because
the powerful electric shocks transmitted up the line, by angler Steve
Alnutt off Shoreham Beach, Sussex. It weighed
8 kg (18 lb) and was returned alive.
Sharks & Rays
Dolphin, Delphinus delphis, was trapped in Emsworth Harbour,
West Sussex on 10 January 1997. The Southern
Marine Life Rescue (Andy Williams) and RSPB attended.
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