Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday, 20 October 2013 08:52
I wasn't completely sure so I wanted to rule out Montagu's Sea Snail so I googled a few images of this species before carrying on dipping. Guess what the next fish I pulled out was?!
I caught one wrasse which in the field I thought was Rock Cook but in hindsight I think this one is likely to be a young Ballan Wrasse, Rock Cook is very much a west coast thing and it doesn't have the right amount of spines on the anal fin. Quite obviously not the Corkwing that we see down south but as with the other two fish, I only caught one of this species. There are records of Ballen from St Mary's too so I'm happy with that.
There are also records there for this attractive goby, the Two-spot Goby which is highly distinctive to do with the spot at the base of the tail.
And this little fellow which I believe to be either a young gurnard or a dragonet as some people have pointed out. Either way these are difficult groups of species as adults so I won't be getting it to species. It was very small, barely a cm long but as soon as I put it in the tray it went from looking like a typical fry to this amazing little fish. I wish I could confidently say what it was. Most of the fish I saw were very small, making some identification a challenge. The largest (and most abundant) fish I saw was a Shanny. The only other fish I saw more than one of was the Butterfish.
Here is the full list of fish.
Long-spined Sea Scorpion
Montague's Sea Snail
Words cannot describe how awesome this was. Every time I put the net I was pulling out something new! Despite driving rain off the north sea, I was loving every minute. Interestingly I must have started on the best bits because at one stage all I was pulling out were Shannys, I think I must have gained altitude slightly without realising. I'll definitely be having a look there every visit up to Whitley Bay, with an ecosystem that resets itself EVERY twelve hours, you can't afford to miss an opportunity!
I also added Common Brittlestar Ophiothrix fragilis. Four new fish and a new starfish!