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Estuary (Llansteffan / Burry Inlet)
Birds love Carmarthen Bay, not just being one of the UK’s two marine Special Protection Areas but also because it’s an overwintering haven for waterfowl and waders that dive and delve into its relatively shallow waters and mud to harvest a rich picking of food: look out specifically for rafts of common scoter at sea, a dark duck with pale beak, and as estuaries come alive at winter, the yelping call of black and white oystercatchers tripping up and down the water’s edge, with clouds of the diminutive wader, the knot, swirling over the worm rich mud.
(Coast Map »)
Rocky coastline (Pendine)
A whole micro world exists in the pools set into the sandy coves below the cliffs west of Pendine. Amongst the deep crevices of rock and wavy seaweed fronds, tiny fish, sea spiders, limpets, prawns, crabs and starfish thrive in the freshly changed sea water after every high tide. A perfect cross section of the sea life caught in a snapshot in front of your nose. Prawns are one of the most enchanting inhabitants of a rock pool and the most of the most crafty. Hanging out in seaweed or under rocks, almost transparent, a sharp rostrum over black dot eyes, lots of gangly legs, they fan their tail to move rapidly backwards to evade capture. A close relative, shrimps bury themselves under sand and look roughly similar to prawns - bar the rostrum and with a sandy grainy colour.
(Coast Map »)
Sand dunes (Pembrey)
Dunes are moving all the time and have differing stages from embryo to semi stable yellow dunes to grey stable dune grassland. Unique plants are found within this habitat from the dune pansy and gentian to sand catchfly and bloody cranesbill which in turn provide specialised breeding conditions for small blue butterflies and solitary bees. Spring is the best time for colour in the dunes with cat’s-ear, wild pansy and lady’s bedstraw attracting insects such as the Sandhill snail hiding in the plant to avoid the hot sand. Towards the sea, sand-hoppers will be found under the washed up detritus of the high water mark. Everything has its purpose and munching their way through rotting seaweed, the sand-hopper navigates by the sun and moon as well as sand particle size and moisture content, jumping erratically out of the way to escape. At least they can escape unlike the hapless jellyfish.
(Coast Map »)
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