Once again the CACHE mascots report from another of their trips….this time, Norfolk:
“Once back from Yorkshire, we barely had time to rest our shells and after a brief spell assisting at CACHE HQ in Cambridge, the time was right to spread our wings (or, in our case, shells!) and venture out again.
This time we had the chance to visit the UK’s north Norfolk coast – seemed very appropriate! We are happiest by the sea!
We found out that a good place to check out shellfish was in the village of Thornham. Apparently, Thornham was once the haunt of smugglers…oooooo, a bit scary. Fortunately, it’s not like that now. The creeks in this area run through the salt marshes from the North Sea and there are rock oysters on trestles, where they grow up in the salty tidal waters.
We also visited the Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Holme Dune nature reserve – yeah…..we hit the beach of course! Shades were not needed. It was extremely windy and raining, so our attempts at a sand castle were rather thwarted, but we tried.
Here we are with our rather flimsy attempt at a sandcastle and surrounded by a variety of shells. Can you identify what each of the different shells are? (Answers below.)
After getting soaked on the beach, we wandered into the wooded area of Holme Dunes, where it felt a bit drier. Clarence got a bit confused, thinking the cone was a shell?!
It was really tiring getting about the reserve with the wind and rain battering us, so it was time for a much-needed cup of tea and a slice of cake in the visitor centre, where the staff were very welcoming. (They probably don’t get many celebrity clams visiting!) They had an amazing collection of shells.
Our cousin, the common mussel (Mytilus edulis), which the CACHE project is researching, apparently feature quite a lot in the marine environment around the Norfolk coast. Like us they are invertebrates, which means they have no backbone (we don’t mean this in a derogatory manner, it’s just an anatomical fact!).
Also, there are some of our other shelly relatives, like barnacles, whelks and limpets in the sea round the coast here, so we really did feel very much at home. Until our next report……adios!”
Answers to which shells:
Large grey blue shell left = Ostrea edulis
Small shells with pinkish lines bottom left and middle = Mercenaria mercenaria
Orangey brown shell underneath Clarence (clam on left) = Mya truncata