A few Bee Orchids were still hanging on.
The nine spikes I counted is the most I've seen here.
I could only find this single specimen of Marsh Fragrant Orchid
There was a superb display of Marsh Helleborines though with around 200 spikes!
There were some lovely specimens of Yellow-wort too.
Culverhole is usually a butterfly honeypot, the weather had taken it's toll though just as I'd expected and I saw just one Meadow Brown and a Silver Y Moth. It's a bit of a hard slog walking along the shingle beach for a mile or so to reach Culverhole point, so I was very happy that my walk back was going to be made a whole lot easier by it being one of the lowest tides of the year, enabling me to walk back along the lower shore, a mixture of rock pools and sand.
View back towards Seaton and Beer, further than it looks.
These always stay still, my favourite gastropod the Blue-rayed Limpet
I noticed some movement in this stranded lobster pot. It was a large fish which took up the whole of one compartment. It was really on its last legs (or is that fins) gasping pathetically as a small trickle of water flowed over its gills, barely keeping it alive. I wasn't sure it would last until the tide turned, so being the big softy that I am decided to try and extricate it. Easier said than done! Too slippery to grab by the tail I had to grab hold of the end with the teeth in, but after much splashing and squirming it saw sense and let me drag it out whereupon I immediately released it into a deep pool nearby. I didn't know what species of fish it was and couldn't take a photo because I was so wet and covered in sand that I didn't dare touch my camera! It was a very pretty fish, green with dark stripes and red eyes and when I got home and looked in a book or two I found out that it was a Ballan Wrasse. A piscine lifer non the less!
As the rocky shore began to run out and pebbles were once again underfoot, I decided to walk up to the base of the cliffs and look for any interesting insects. As I emerged over the shingle ridge I was greeted by the shocking sight of a couple of middle aged, rather overweight naturists getting rather...erm.... amorous. I wont go into detail but let's just say I'm still having the odd flashback!
The only insect I spotted on the cliffs was this squashbug, Enoplops scapha. It lives in coastal areas and feed on scentless mayweed and other composites and it looks a good deal more attractive than the average local naturist!
I'm very pleased I took this walk on Thursday because after the events on Saturday I don't know when I'll be able to again. As you may have seen on other local blogs we had some very heavy and prolonged rainfall over Friday night and for most of Saturday, causing widespread flooding. In the harbour area the river rose to its highest level for several decades and as the tide receded the flow became so fierce that several boats sank and no less than eight were washed away and out to sea! Rob and I spent most of the day there as one of the pontoons at the yacht club was in danger of breaking up and our boat was on it. Fortunately it held out after fixing a few extra lines to it.
The reason I won't be going back to Culverhole for a while is this...
The rain caused a large landslip along the eastern side of the harbour wall completely blocking the path and hence all access to the beach to the east of the river mouth. Amazingly that tree standing in the river was still there today!
At the morning high tide the water was very close to coming over the top of the harbour wall.
The gangways to the pontoons were submerged.
Anxious fishermen look on helplessly, some stayed all night.
This large boat on the end of the pontoon was getting caught in the current and the finger of the pontoon was starting to come away... .like so....
Extra lines were attached to the boat and the pontoon and secured onshore to the club's excavator. Fortunately this took a bit of the pressure off and the next morning the finger was still in place if a little bent! It was quite scary standing out near the end of the pontoon with such a raging torrent passing. The still photo doesn't really convey the ferocity of the flow.
Doomed. Five boats in this photo were soon to be washed away. Two have already sunk. The three to the left all left together Saturday afternoon and the large white one on the right apparently floated out to sea at one o'clock Sunday morning.
Tension rose as the evening high tide approached at 10pm, with a big turnout of locals and a large contingent of the coast guard. Fortunately the tide, although forecast to be higher than in the morning was lower as the rain had finally eased somewhat.
This fishing boat called Aquaholic had to be cut free from a pontoon at the yacht club after it turned turtle and got jammed underneath causing the pontoon to start coming adrift. Unfortunately the new line that had been attached gave way and this was the sad result. Only two of the eight boats that were lost were washed up on the beach at Seaton Hole, one of them was Aquaholic.
This is how it looked this morning. It used to have a cabin on top. Rob helped recover this boat yesterday afternoon and whilst walking down the beach towards it with one of the owners they saw a man walking towards them with an armful of fishing rods. "They're my rods!" Exclaimed the co-owner. Apparently the man just smirked and carried on by. What a **** !
I mentioned earlier that photos don't really convey the ferocity of the water so I took a few bits and bobs of video which give a better idea.
Yesterday afternoon me and Bun drove over the border to Lodmoor in Weymouth to see the adult White-winged Black Tern, which would be a much needed British tick for Bun and a lifer for me. What a stunning bird it was too. It was always quite distant but it stood out beautifully and the scope views were excellent. It was too distant to get any decent images but I got a few naff ones. (See some better ones on Brett's blog and a nice video of it feeding on Steve's blog)