Some BNA Essex Branch & some BNA South Yorkshire Branch members investigated coastal species on the beaches, seawall, foldings to the NNR and saltmarsh on the Colne Estuary at Brightlingsea, Essex on Monday 24th July 2023. This was within the National Marine Week that was instigated by the Wildlife Trusts. A July day but showery as the pictures show!
We noted numerous Moon Jellyfish had washed in and been stranded on the beach on the north side of Bateman’s Tower. A group of Black-headed Gulls were standing nearby. On the small promontory of Bateman’s Tower is a good carpet of saltmarsh plants, and around the promontory in the sea swathes of Egg Wrack floated high from their attachment points.
On and beside the path were broken thick shells of American Hard Clams from the bed offshore. Beside the seawall path (former railway line) there were flowering Wild Carrot with only a faint coloured central flower in the umbel flowerhead. Down beside the lower sea-wall foldings’ path were flowering Dittander level with the NNR.
The sea-facing lower part of the “wall” embankment was lined with Shrubby Seablite where it abutted the saltmarsh. Beside these was Annual Seablite and Sea Purslane, which also extended into the marsh at water-edges. The table of the saltmarsh was festooned with clumps of flowering Common Sea-lavender. At the sea-edge in numerous places Marsh Samphire was growing, the originator plant of the saltmarsh.
Noticeably there were eroded edges of the saltmarsh where it met the sea.