Red, Wight and Purple

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday 27 March 2023 16:08

On a clear day, you can just about see the eastern end of the Isle of Wight from the higher parts of Brighton. Tantalisingly close. I have only ever been once before on a day trip in 2011. This time though, Karen and I had a week out there and, as Mark Telfer has recently moved to the island, I spent a couple of days in the field with him (and one day with Iain Outlaw). Where to begin? Nothing, quite competes with the moment you realise a wild Red Squirrel is about to run up and feed right out of your hand! So I'll start there. I was so excited to see them! Here are some more shots and a very cute video.

This all started at a place called Alverstone Mead when I was struck by how tame the Great Tits were, I put my hand out to show the nearest tit that I didn't have anything and I was gobsmacked when it instantly landed on my hand. I tried again and it did it again, we rushed back to the car for some nuts. 

When tits attack!

Enough of that. Rock-pooling was pretty awesome actually. I saw four Solar-powered Sea Slugs Elysia viridis (at both Castle Cove and Freshwater Bay). I'm quite taken with these beauties, they seem to be quite common on the island. Purple is so well represented in rock pool life!

Castle Cove was pretty cool, Mark said his favourite thing to see in a rock pool would be a sea spider. I rarely see them, so wasn't expecting to find one under the next rock I turned. More Snakelocks Anemones than I have seen before, too.

The west side of Freshwater Bay has wonderful rock pools. Found this huge Painted Topshell there.

And this was a lifer. A Four-horned Spider Crab.

A few Small-headed(?) Clingfish. The overall fish count was low, with Rock Goby the commonest species, Worm Pipefish and a Ballan Wrasse were the only other fish. I didn't actually see a Shanny!

A White Tortoiseshell Limpet was nice. 

But what I really wanted was a nudibranch! There were a few Yellow-plumed Sea Slugs and my back was getting very sore from turning rocks, when I noticed a very bright orange and purple blob on the underside of a rock. Could it be a nudibranch? Yes! And it was an awesome one I hadn't seen before! I am pretty sure this can be nothing other than Edmundsella pedata. Just look at it (try Googling the name too)! It was only about 5 mm long and was firmly stuck to the underside of a very deep rock, so I couldn't properly submerge it for a decent photo. The only way I could take photos of it unfurled was by pouring water on it continuously with my Ferrero Rocher container. This is my 7th nudibranch. 

This is what it looks like out of the water. So be prepared when looking for these to really scour the underside of the rocks with your eyes - they're often smaller than you think. I might have to leave the plants and inverts for another post, with nearly 800 records made, we sure did get around the island. This is an amazing place for wildlife and a great place for a holiday.

To be continued...

0 Response to "Red, Wight and Purple"

Post a Comment

Nature Blog Network