Sabellaria surveying with the Marine Trainees!

Sabellaria 2016

Week number 3 as the new conservation apprentices and we are settling in brilliantly. We’ve already partaken in days with many of the other staff here at Cumbria Wildlife Trust and are enjoying every second of it! This week we’ve been out with the marine trainees completing mapping of Sabellaria reefs at Nethertown and St Bees on the west coast.

It was an early start for us all on the 19th and 21st of September. We set off from Plumgarths, Crook at 5:30 on day 1 and 4:45 on day 2 in order to catch the early low tide. After a 1 and a half hours drive we arrived at 7:15 on day one. And around 6 on the second day. We kitted up in into our waterproofs, wellies and lifejackets then headed down to the beach.

We had a brief chat to discuss a game plan and headed our separate ways. We spent the first part of the days getting to grips with surveying but once we’d figured it out it became a smoother slicker process. The mapping itself entailed identifying the type of reef we were looking at out of various categories then walking round the perimeter of the reef with a GPS in order to build up a picture of how much Sabellaria there was and what types were present. We also took accompanying photos to show which types were which.  

I’d never really noticed the huge reefs created by Sabellaria before and had always assumed it was some sort of bedrock, after chatting with the trainees we’d learnt a lot about the reefs and a few things about the creatures in the rock pools too!

We spent the best part of the morning surveying but eventually the tide caught up with us and we had to finish up. A small amount of beach combing was done on the mile walk back to the cars were we found the gill wreaker’s of a Ray, a Lobster tail, several angels purses.

Once the surveying was over we made our way back to Cumbria Wildlife Trust for about 12:30pm. The west coast of Cumbria is a truly spectacular part of Cumbria and after visiting for the first time I would strongly recommend visiting the quite tranquil village of St Bees.