Friday, 4 May 2007

Another day at the beach

After much prevarication, we drove down to Limeburners Bay and arrived on slack tide. Pied oystercatchers were searching for food at the end of the sand spit, so we thought we might have what they were having. We marched down with sieve and shovel. (And permit, just in case anyone asked us what we were doing.) The birds were a bit peeved with us but moved along as fast as they could without losing dignity. I have no idea what they were after because the sand was packed with empty clam shells and was apparently devoid of multicellular life.

By this time, the silver gulls were also getting peeved by our presence. They'd already seen off a juvenile Pacific gull and must have decided to go for a bigger target. They made low passes, complaining loudly as they soared overhead. But we ignored them and they lost interest after a while. Obviously, the juvie gull had been much more fun.

Well, we shovelled and sieved anoxic sand but didn't find the animal we were after. Plenty of little golden mussels (probably a native Xenostrobus), which provided a resting place for even tinier sea anemones. Tonnes of dead shells of all species — except for our quarry. Of course.

Hordes of Salinator ploughed furrows on mud just above the water's edge. (Salinator is one of the few pulmonate snails that sports an operculum.) I think I might have a closer look at them some time. They're rather interesting snails.

We returned to work empty-handed. But not before we had lunch in Geelong at a rather nice café in the city centre. I can't help feeling that we probably had a whiff of hydrogen sulphide about us, as we'd been searching through stinky black sand. Still, we couldn't smell it and no one mentioned it ...

No comments: