Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
jellyfishcompass jellyfish

Sun Jelly

Sunday 25th June 2000
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Sandsend, looking towards Whitbybubbles
THE WIND has whipped up a froth from the waves. It lies along the strandline like remnant snow, but, when you see it close up with the sunlight on it, many of the bubbles have a pearly colour, like semi-precious stones; azurite, malachite and amber.

foam Ice cream scoop sized pieces of foam are blown up the beach. They cartwheel over the sand, loosing their corners and leaving a dashed streaky trail of white bubbles until they are no bigger than a marble.

jellyfishcompass jellyfish Jellyfish (left) are splodged at intervals along the beach. Most are the size of half a grapefruit, with four purple reproductive organs, like four lovely black eyes, set inside the clear jelly. This is probably the Common Jellyfish, Aurelia aurita.

A few (right) are larger, the size of an upturned saucer, crimped around the edges and with an amber sunlike structure with rays spreading from it, inside. These are probably Compass Jellyfish, Chrysaora hysoscella.

Sandsend Ness

bell heathervetch The scars on Sandsend Ness where alum shales were once mined, must be acidic, to judge by the wild flowers. Bell Heather covers some slopes with bright purple tussocks. Yellow Birdsfoot Trefoil grows at the foot of the slope, while alongside the path, where a little more soil has developed, a lilac-flowered pea-like plant grows. I sketch it because it looks unfamiliar. I'm used to Bush Vetch, which grows as a weed in our garden, but this has paler flowers, which tend to be arranged together on one side of the flower stalk. I wonder if it is Wood Vetch, Vicia sylvatica, which sometimes grows on cliffs, as well as in scrub and woodland?

Bog Cotton grows in water-filled hollows and, surprisingly, in one hollow near the end of the headland Rhododendron forms a low-growing thicket.

fulmar A Fulmar suddenly glides into view from behind a bush and appears to be skimming over the turf. It's actually gliding along in the updraft at the top of the cliff.

Child counselling; Geordie style

We make our way through the jostling weekend crowds around Whitby harbour. Visitors are enjoying the sunshine, the fish and chips and the amusement arcades. Well, almost everyone is enjoying it; a Geordie woman turns to her nine-year old daughter;

'You better straighten your face; if I catch you crying, I'll crack you!'

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

E-mail; 'richard@daelnet.co.uk'

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