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Four keen walkers participated in the March Angair Get to Know Our Tracks walk. As the tide was very low it was decided to explore the intertidal zone south-west of Urquhart Bluff.

The cold southerly and brief showers at the start of the walk had us wondering whether we had made the best decision! It soon became apparent we had, as the wind dropped, the sun greeted us and the rock pools and high tide mark gave rise to a rich variety of flora and fauna.

Our first find of interest was a Mauve-mouth Ascidian, Herdmania grandis. Although these ‘sea squirts’ look very primitive they are in fact more advanced than their appearance – they possess a rudimentary backbone at stages in their life cycle and are considered an important link between invertebrates and vertebrates.

ascidianMauve-mouth Ascidian

The rock pools revealed some attractive species including the Speckled Rock Anemone, Oulactis muscosa, with its characteristic collection of shell grit around its perimeter, and the Elongate Chiton, Ischnochiton elongatus.

anemoneSpeckled Rock Anemone

chitonElongate Chiton

As we walked along the high tide mark we were amazed at the number of By-the-wind-sailor jellyfish,Velella velella, that had washed ashore. Smaller numbers of the strange-shaped Buoy Barnacle, Dosima fascicularis, were also present.

Finally the walk also provided some good birding observations including Wedge-tailed Eagle (2), Nankeen Kestrel, Rufous Bristlebird, Fairy Penguin (dead); Great Cormorant; White-faced Heron; and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo (15).

Walkers: Edwina Brien, Chris Morrissey; David Walmsley and Rob Shepherd. Morning tea sheltering from the wind.

Notes and photos: Rob Shepherd