Wednesday, 5 March 2008
At the beach
The tide was on its way out when I arrived at Williamstown this lunchtime. Having been stuck indoors for what seems like months, I decided to get out into the sunshine. Because I was working at home (still wretched from yesterday's migraine but needing to get through a stack of paperwork without interruptions), I had the chance to make a break for the water's edge. I wasn't there for long but it didn't matter. I was outside and there were birds, snails and large ships.
Rather less curious gulls soaking up the midday sun in the company of a little pied cormorant
Basalt boulders are not a popular substrate for intertidal animals, especially on the upper shore. (Doubly so for the upper shore near a busy dock.) But Bembicium (Littorinidae) occurs in fair numbers, unperturbed by the heat and the … stuff … in the water. Their shells are tough enough to withstand crab claws and the seagulls generally leave them alone. At high tide, they have the shore to themselves. Bembicium is endemic to Australia.
The massive dredging vessel, Queen of the Netherlands, was on the horizon. It is deepening the shipping channel through Port Phillip Bay from the Heads to the docks. You can see the suction pipes deployed over the side. That's one big operation.
And then I had to go back to my home office. But I felt refreshed.