I’m still hiding away safely in my crevice
home. Phew! Well kind of, it’s still like being in a washing machine down here
after Storm Freya and Storm Gareth whizzed through followed by continuing wind
and rain. There is a lot of swell and 2 metre waves crashing in on my beach.
Optimistically, I can feel it in the water
that 2019 is going to be a good year for us tompot blennies. Us ‘bourgeois males’ (that’s the way males like
me that guard a crevice territory are described) are getting busy. We’re preparing
for the spring by clearing any debris from our homes, getting ready to
encourage our local ladies in to lay their eggs. It’s an ongoing job at the
moment because, as soon as I clear lumps of seaweed out of my home, the swell
whooshes them all back in.
I’m really hoping that, this year, we won’t
have anything like last year’s ‘Beast from the East’ sweep over and drop the
water temperature dramatically.
The seawater temperature is still 9 degrees
C and about to turn back up I think. The days are lengthening so spring has
Just after the video for my last blog was taken, I kept seeing dark shapes being swept past my crevice home. It took a while but then it dawned on me what they were. The waves had ripped lots of kelp (a large type of seaweed) off the rocks around my home and it was being swished around in the waves. I’ll have to be careful when I venture out as it could damage me.
A lot of the kelp will be washed up on the beach. This photograph shows a pile, 1 metre deep, that arrived all in one night… pretty impressive!
The recycling gang will have to get into action on the beach; sand hoppers, beach hoppers, kelp flies and other small creatures will break it all down over the next month or so. More broken off kelp will stay around the gully in front of my rock, it will be eaten by thousands of amphipods and isopods (small crustaceans). Those amphipods and isopods will eventually be a nice feast for me, so that’s the good side of the storm, yum yum!
This smallspotted catshark egg case (mermaid’s purse) was washed up with the seaweed too!
You can see that all us fish have different ways of bringing on the next generation. Super-Dad blennies like me guard our eggs http://www.bennytheblenny.com/blog/?p=240, while the single catshark and ray eggs are wrapped in those tough ‘mermaid’s purses’ so they don’t need to be guarded. Some fish, like plaice and cod, don’t guard the eggs or give them a strong coat, they just produce so many of them (plaice ~500000, cod over a million) that they reckon a few are bound to survive. That sounds a bit too risky to me!
I’m glad I chased that velvet swimming crab out when I did. I’ve been in dire need of my crevice home to myself for the last few days. Gales hit the south-west coast but there seems to be some debate whether it was just very windy or officially ‘Storm Doris’, as some of the newspapers called it. It felt like Storm Doris to me. Take a look at this video, imagine what it’s like around my reef, a bubbly wild underwater whirlpool! I’m staying hidden away in the narrowest, snuggest part of my crevice for now, using my fins to keep me safely in position.
The winds are now easing but there is still a big swell coming in from the open sea. The surfers are enjoying it!