Nature Notes, February 2012

26 January. East Runton to West Runton Beach (and back) – around 2 hours.

There’s a thin line of mist on the sea’s horizon as I pass the eerie moon-like landscape of chalk rocks on my left. On the strand line there’s washed up new-growth of bright green sea lettuce. Sea lettuce is packed with healthy vitamins and is grazed on by geese further up the coast in the marshes, and in the sea it’s a good food source for marine animals. I’m not tempted by it – imagine it’s salty and as it ages it turns from green to brown then black. I take photographs of a seal’s head and further on find an odd triangular shape of its flippers, the middle section is missing. I wonder if this is the work of a ship’s propeller. There is also: mermaid’s purse (skate); various wracks; pieces of belemnite (an extinct marine cephalopod mollusc). Good views of the striations in the cliffs, the dark baseline of the ancient Cromer Forest-bed, it glitters with shell and bone. (The location of 600,000 year old West Runton Elephant is nearby.)

The tubes of wax are still on East Runton beach. I have confirmation that this is the same paraffin wax being washed up along the beaches and is under investigation.

Mermaid's Purse (skate)

4-8 February. Snow. See poetry page, ‘Winter Morning Recipe’, I wrote this poem on a weekend poetry course at How Hill, a few years ago.

13th February. A killer whale is sighted by birdwatchers at Sheringham. Could the seal parts be connected? I made enquiries about killer whale bites: asked to forward photographs to the Mammal Org. for further study, which I did on the 19th.

23rd February. Reports of porpoise deaths in paper, (severed heads sound identical to those I found of the seal!):

Sun. Signs of spring: Snowdrops; hawthorn blossom; catkins; ladybirds; wasps; wild arum sprouting under hedgerows.

February Catkins

Poetry. Publications, prizes, reviews.

Readings: Newark Prize giving 21st January, See:

for my (third) prize winning poem and photos.

21 February. New!! Poetry at Olives, Elm Hill, Norwich. Open Mic.

QQ Press. Haiku Competition (in Booklet). Commended.