You're gonna need a bigger boat

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Wednesday 12 June 2013 17:11

When was the last time you saw SEVEN species of vertebrate you hadn't seen before in the UK? I can't remember. I also now that this time yesterday, I hadn't heard of a Reticulated Dragonet but I saw one today. I got up at the ungodly hour of 4.00 am to go and volunteer with Chichester Harbour Conservancy and Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority with some of their annual monitoring of fish populations. I was expecting a few new species, but six new fish and two new crustaceans was a real treat. I haven't been that excited since I first started moth trapping years ago!

Other highlights included three Great Pipefish all around 30 cm long. I also keyed out the spider crab you can see in the image below. There are several different species but this one was the Long-legged Spider Crab. I saw some unidentified pipefish under rocks on Anglesey years ago but these were a totally different looking beast.Much more like the sea horses they are related to.

Here is one of the beautiful Sand Smelt as it was being measured and put back in the sea.

I hadn't realised how many gobies there were, but I learnt how to identify Black Goby today. New fish number four!

We caught quite a few young Pollack. My fifth new fish of the day.

The final fish I hadn't seen before were Herring but I didn't get a photo of those. We also saw Common Goby, Shanny, Sea Bass, Long-spined Sea Scorpion and this Mackerel.

I picked up a very odd looking shrimpy thing which keyed out easily to Chameleon Prawn. Yet another new species! On the way back we saw a Little Tern, six Common Seals and two Grey Seals (one Grey is visible to the bottom right of this photo). A big thank you to Ed Rowsell and colleagues for the opportunity. I'll definitely be going back.

But that's only six vertebrates I hear you say. Well, the 7th was at the opposite end of the county in the Cuckmere. I just went and twitched a first summer male American Golden Plover that Matt Eade found yesterday. A nice bird and one of my bogies! So, after what seems like a very long day I end the day on 4314 species.

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