Cullercoats Bay

A view of the bay taken during early September at low tide. It shows the exposed sandstone carboniferous bedrock and brown glacial till above. The line of the 90 fathom fault can be seen on the left hand side.

One of the goals of the visit was to check on the Rock Samphire (Crithmum maritinum) shown below. Like the Yellow Samphire it is edible but some say it tastes like kerosene.

While admiring the the Samphire, two Painted lady butterflies appeared on the Red Valerian nearby. It is a migrant species originating in North Africa.

Earlier a pair of Small tortoiseshell butterflies were feeding on Common ragwort. A native species, previously in decline, seems to be more evident this year.

Vipers Bugloss (Echium vulgare) growing on the same sandy bank is also a favourite food plant of the Painted Lady butterfly.

White stonecrop (Sedum album) sheltering under a bench nearby.

Autumn is the season of the Orache, Common Orache (Atriplex patula) seems as much at home along roadsides as by the seaside.

The plastic tubs were dominated either by this Mayweed, probably Sea Mayweed (Tripleurospermum maritimum),

or Common chickweed (Stellaria media).

Plantlife regard Rosa rugosa as an invasive weed of sand dunes. Although it looks attractive with perfumed flowers and copious hips it is becoming more common along the dunes.

Cullercoats has an exposure of Permian yellow sands visible at low tide. the sea has eroded caves in the strata.

Inside one of the caves, a red alga formed large patches. Probably Hildenbrandia rubra.

Recently there was a Jellyfish swarm around the coast and the beach still had a few specimens lying stranded and dead. The Lion’s Mane jelly has long flowing tentacles surrounding the bell up to to 3m in length and is packed with stinging cells used to catch their prey of fish and other smaller jellyfish. They have a nasty sting, the fragments of tentacles can still sting without being attached to the jellyfish, so best avoided on the beach.

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