Thursday 17th April 2014: Rock pooling, push netting & seine netting – Swallow Tree Gardens
We had a great afternoon with guests from Swallow Tree Gardens and locals from Saundersfoot. Everyone got stuck in and there were plenty of Shannies (Lipophrys pholis) and shore crabs (Carcinus maenas) to find in the rock pools.
Whilst the Darwin team set out their seine net the gang got stuck in with some push nets to catch young flatfish and shrimp. Masked crabs (Corystes cassivelaunus) were popping up from the sand as the tide retreated.
In our seine net we caught this fantastic left eyed flatfish which is a Brill (Scophthalmus rhombus) because it has a frill!! Along with Turbot (Psetta maxima) they the largest flatfish found in Welsh waters. They can grow up to 75cm but 50cm is usually the maximum. Brill eat a variety of prey items including Sprat, sand eels and invertebrates. A female Brill can lay up to one million eggs which will float and then hatch in the plankton.
The crab featured in the pictures above and below on the left is a male Harbour crab (Liocarcinus spp) that has been infected by a parasitic barnacle known as the crab hacker barnacle or Sacculina carcini. The barnacle tricks the male crab into thinking it is a pregnant female crab. The externa of the barnacle can been seen underneath the males tail. He is caring for this mass as if it were his own eggs.
The Lesser Weever fish (Echiichthys vipera) lives partially buried in the sand with only its eyes and first dorsal fin showing. When it feels threatened it flicks up its spiny venomous dorsal fin which delivers a painful sting to anyone unfortunate enough to step on it. The best treatment for the sting is to put the area which received the sting into really hot water, as hot as can be tolerated. The heat causes the proteins in the venom to breakdown which will relieve the symptoms.
Wednesday 16th April 2014: Value Independence.
Today we continued our work with Barry John and the VC Gallery team thanks to funding from the Bluestone Foundation. The aim of the project is to explore science and art and to create a piece of art to be displayed at the launch of Pembrokeshire Fish Week on Saturday 28th June.
Value Independence came with us down to Goodwick for a seine netting session. After examining the catch we headed back to their base in Little Newcastle for an art workshop with Barry John and the rest of the VC Gallery team. They started out with a sketch and then progressed to a canvas painting before finishing with a tile painting. Once again the art was absolutely brilliant and we are all eager to see the finished masterpiece at Fish Week.
Monday 14th April 2014: Action For Children – Dale
The morning consisted of seine netting in the Gann Estuary near Dale where we caught lots of gobies and common shore crabs. We were lucky enough to watch a crab climb out of it’s shell! Before leaving the Gann the children were able to tell the difference between a male and female crab and explain how the crabs grow. After a short drive we arrived at Dale beach for rock pooling, seine netting and push netting. The undersides of rocks were buzzing with rocklings, worm pipefish and butter fish! Not to mention the hoards of common shore crabs.
After lunch on the beach we made our way up to Dale Fort Field Studies Centre who kindly let us use their site which has fantastic views to inspire landscape art. Barry and his team started their art session in the classroom where the children had to think about what they had seen over the course of the morning. On a large sheet of paper the sketched something they remembered from the mornings session, whether it was a favourite view, animal or person. After this initial sketch it was time to transfer it onto a tile with acrylic paint.
After they had mastered the acrylics we headed out of the classroom and onto the decking to paint the landscape view on to a canvas. All of the drawings and painting created by the children were fantastic. The tiles and canvas painting will be used alongside work from other groups to create a huge piece of art work for Fish Week open day on Saturday 28th June down on Milford Haven Marina.
The next group to participate in these science and art workshops will be Value Independence on Wednesday. We will be taking them to Goodwick for a seine netting session and then back to Little Newcastle for the art with Barry and his VC Gallery team.
Wednesday 2nd April 2014: St Teilo’s School
St Teilo’s has signed up to be a Pembrokeshire Outdoor School and they have chosen Tenby North Beach as their outdoor area. So we brought our buckets and nets to the beach to meet their nursery class for some rock pooling and seine netting. They all had a set of brilliant waterproofs and got stuck in!
Tuesday 1st April 2014: Hubberston & Coastland’s year 6
The Port of Milford Haven have sponsored a series of events in which we take their local primary schools to explore the Milford Haven Waterway with local Geologist Sid Howells. The trip starts at Blackpool Mill which is the tidal limit of the Eastern Cleddau. We then follow the waterway to Carew Tidal Mill followed by the Cleddau Bridge. After exploring the physicality of the waterway the pupils then have the opportunity to explore its biology at Gelliswick Bay where they participate in rock pooling and seine netting. Our final stop is the Port of Milford Haven where they watch a short film all about the Port (with squash and biscuits). This is then followed by a guided tour of the marina and dockyards with Port staff.
Friday 28th March 2014: St Aidan’s School year 6 – St Brides Haven
Pupils from St Aidan’s joined us for a rock pooling and filming session on St Brides Haven. Dave Whelton was filming a tourism video for Pembrokeshire County Council and they wanted to use clips from a rock pooling session with the Darwin Centre’s Marten Lewis.
After rock pooling we went back to their classroom for a follow up workshop on plankton and food chains. The pupils examined locally caught plankton under the microscope as well as random objects including scabs and pencil sharpeners.