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On 30th September, the YNU Conchological Section and Marine and Coastal Section organised a very enjoyable field meeting at Reighton Sands in Filey Bay.  The group recorded 20 species of terrestrial molluscs on the cliffs above the bay, and 57 species of marine molluscs, including a live specimen of the long-lived bivalve ocean quahog (Arctica islandica).  Exploration of the rocky outcrops and rock pools at the eastern end of the bay below Speeton Cliffs yielded records of other marine flora and fauna such as elegant anemones (Sagartia elegans) and oaten pipe hydroids (Tubularia indivisa).

An interesting feature of the bay is an artificial reef created by boilers of a shipwreck.  We believe this is the wreck of the Laura, a 2089 ton steamer built in 1880 in Newcastle and owned by a Trieste company.  She ran ashore in Filey Bay due to fog on 21st November 1897.  Tugs tried to rescue her but they couldn’t manage it and 3 days later the ship broke in half and was written off. There was no loss of life.  Further information can be found here.  The boilers are thickly encrusted with marine life, particularly barnacles, limpets, beadlet anemones and green and brown seaweeds.

Photos clockwise from top left: an ocean quahog (Arctica islandica); investigating the boilers from the wreck of the Laura; digging for burrowing bivalves; a necklace shell (Lunatia catena), commonly found on the strandline at Reighton Sands.

Further photos from the day can be found here.

Details of the next joint field meeting of the Conchological and Marine and Coastal Sections can be found here.

Come and join us for this special VC61 Excursion, a sociable weekend with optional organised activities.

There is still time to book accommodation at the new Spurn Bird Observatory - please e-mail Sarah White (contact details in membership card) for further information or to make a booking.

Or come just for the day on Saturday or Sunday - there's no need to book for this.

The optional programme of events includes bird ringing and moth trapping, strandline/geological/geographical/historical walk, early morning bird walk, entomology including specialist guidance on dragonflies and beetles, botanical ramble, visit to the new YWT Kilnsea Wetlands reserve,  Unimog Safari (run by YWT to the Point, a two and a half hour trip at £12 each) and a BBQ on Saturday evening.

Full details and booking arrangements can be found in the latest copy of The Naturalist or on the event page.

Members of the YNU’s affiliated society Seasearch carried out survey dives on Scarborough’s coastal defences on Saturday 1st September.  The coastal defences consist of rock revetment and pre-cast concrete Accropodes installed between 2002 and 2005.  Since their installation, the subtidal sections of the defences have become richly covered in seaweeds, sponges, bryozoans and hydroids, providing habitat for a variety of mobile creatures such as fishes, prawns and crabs.  Seasearch divers recorded 37 species, including the seaweeds Dilsea carnosa, Dictyota dichotoma and Delesseria sanguinea, sea slugs Goniodoris nodosa and Jorunna tomentosa, as well as common lobsters, velvet swimming crabs, common starfish, long-spined sea scorpions, dragonets and butterfish.

Left to right: The sea slug Jorunna tomentosa, a butterfish Pholis gunnellus and a dragonet Callionymus lyra.

The dives were carried out with Scarborough Sub Aqua Club and marked the successful completion of their Real Reefs Project, which surveyed the wildlife and habitats on 20 reefs between Flamborough and Whitby this summer with funding from BSAC and Sport England.