Saturday, 5 April 2014

E is for Erosion, Estuary, Eels, Eel Grass, Everlasting Thrift ...


Erosion occurs on all types of rocks ... the sea acts like a saw, trimming back the land and gradually widening the cliff face – whether chalk or granite ...

Wave-cut platform caused by erosion
of cliffs by the sea, at Southerndown,
in South Wales

The tidal currents and pounding waves carry the sand, silt and mud sometimes extending the beach as a spit, right out into the sea.  Spurn Head is one of these on the Humber Estuary ...


Estuaries - where two worlds meet - where the fresh water of a river joins the salt water of the sea.


 
River Nith at Solway Firth
showing the 'two worlds'
The sediment in the rivers builds mud-banks, the shingle and sands get moved around creating difficult navigating conditions – as the tidal flow changes the course of river’s movement ... eroding as it goes ... 




Copepods, from
Ernst Haeckel's 1904 work
Kunstfformen der Natur
A teeming world exists in the mud-banks – supporting a wealth of worms, crustaceans, molluscs and other animals ... fed on by many species of bird.


Estuary waters are layered:

·        fresh water at the surface, flowing seawards;

·        heavier salt water at the bottom, which flows upstream with the tides;

·        brackish water in between ... a mixture of both ... which moves in either direction dependent on the ebb and flow.


 
Black Tailed Godwit

Creatures have adapted to live in the three layers ... but some animals are migrants, moving up and down estuaries to spawn or feed: salmon, sea lampreys, or eels ...




Bridgwater Bay - where
we've had the dreadful
Somerset Levels floods
2013/2014

Eels – amazing creatures ... I wrote comprehensively about them nearly five years ago! ... one of my very early posts:  SlipperyCustomers.


Our eels travel thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean to the Sargasso Sea – that barren, windless, weed-filled area – to breed.


My eel post mentions: Aristotle, Sigmund Freud, Pepys, King John of Magna Carta fame ... a veritable ‘eel’ feast!



Sea horse amongst eel grass

Eel-Grass, Zostera marina, is found on sandy substrates or in estuaries ... eel-grass beds are important for sediment deposition and stabilisation of the inter-tidal zones.



The beds form economically important nursery grounds for many species ... fish and shellfish ... allowing pipefish and seahorses to shelter amongst the swaying fronds.

 
Sea Pinks (Everlasting Thrift)
South West Coastal Path
Everlasting Thrift (Sea Pinks) grows in a cushion as protection against the wind, hanging on to rocky crevices and giving us beautiful coastal views.   


It retains its colour when dried and so is a favourite with flower arrangers.



That is E for ever-occurring Erosion, enigmatic Estuaries, errant Eels, expedient Eel Grass, exalted Everlasting Thrift ... from Aspects of British Coasts ...


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

53 comments:

Patsy said...

We're just off to Wales. Our favourite camping spot there overlooks a big patch of sea thrift. It's the first place we visited on honeymoon and that's just one of the happy associstions the plant has for me.

Manzanita said...

When one thinks long-term, erosion calls all the shots. We as humans are entirely at it's mercy. When you said the sea pinks form a cushion, it made me think of Irish and Scotch moss which I planted inbetween the rocks in the rock garden. It's amazing how close together it grows to form a hard but yet spongy cushion. You opened my eyes to it's purpose.

Jen Forbes said...

I can see why Everlasting Thrift is such a hit with the florist. It's quite lovely. Enjoyed today's post Hilary, and you're right eels are slippery customers but they're good eating, Every tried it? Yum~

Maggie Winter said...

What a wonderful image, Sea Pinks, beautiful...Fighting with eels when fishing...oh how my dad used to tease me with them, when we went fishing together. I can't tell you how much I miss England when I come on your blog...You have a great blog Hilary, I'm stating the obvious!
On the A to Z Challenge Maggie@expatbrazil.

Maggie Winter said...

What a wonderful image, Sea Pinks, beautiful...Fighting with eels when fishing...oh how my dad used to tease me with them, when we went fishing together. I can't tell you how much I miss England when I come on your blog...You have a great blog Hilary, I'm stating the obvious!
On the A to Z Challenge Maggie@expatbrazil.

Empty Nest Insider said...

The Sea Pinks are lovely! I wouldn't want to get too close to those "slippery customers!" Extraordinary entry for "E," Hilary!

Julie

Fanny Barnes Thornton said...

Hi Hilary,
I was about to leave a comment yesterday when I was interrupted.

I always have difficulty with those deckchairs. We have dunes here in Southport with grasses (some introduced from Australia), wildlife (mainly rabbits,foxes and some natterjack toads), birds, ponds and a maze of pathways.

I don't know how you managed to find so many 'e's. I never knew that eels migrated. It's quite amazing how creatures can travel so far.

I can't imagine how much time you spend on research, but your blog is so informative and interesting.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Everlasting Thrift is so much nicer to contemplate than eels!

Brian Miller said...

oo oo i like sea horses...they are so strange and cool...erosion is part of the cycle you know....it makes for some pretty cool textures in the rocks as well...pretty sea pinks too...

Rosalind Adam said...

I don't like eels but I love estuaries. There's something ethereal about the change from river to open sea. I almost expect to see mermaids.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've never heard of Everlasting Thrift. And I didn't know eels migrated like that. Very educational and interesting.

Inge H. Borg said...

What a wonderful "E" - unfortunately, erosion seems to have taken a hold of much of our world. But for today, your lovely pictures instill hope for nature healing itself; can't say the same for a lot of people.

mail4rosey said...

Erosion, though it can have terrible effects, can be so beautiful too!!

As for the seahorse, in the Eel Grass, we were swimming in Florida once, and one of us come up with a seahorse on us. I thought that was awesome!!

Robin said...

Reading this, I thought, "Nature really is perfect. With all of the variation it allows sea life to thrive. There is the sea water, brackish water, and river water all working in tandem with another." This was a fascinating post. Thanks.

Teresa Powell Coltrin said...

Nature just knows what to do to keep it all going. It's amazing. I love the Sea Pinks. Beautiful aren't they?

kaushikgovind said...

Nature has provided endowed us with such exemplary gifts, which should be protected and preserved for the generations to come! :)
Cheers ~ Kaushik

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hurricanes cause most of the erosion to our beaches. And people keep rebuilding their houses on sand dunes. Dumb.

L.G. Smith said...

Not sure I could warm up to an eel, but estuaries are amazing ecological places. Love to see the shore birds like avocets and plovers along there.

Jo said...

Alex is so right about people building on the dunes. I don't think people should be permitted to do so in the first place. Millions is spent shoring up the beaches to try and protect these buildings, lots of which are there only to make money from tourists.

Interesting post again Hilary. I don't remember Sea Pinks although I must have seen it but then I was not much into natural things when I lived in the UK or I was only just beginning to take notice. Last time I was in England, rivers were so much better and cleaner. A vast difference from when I used to live on the Medway. I actually used to swim in all that muck.

Chatty Crone said...

I enjoyed (?) as usual your information - your pictures are pretty. The subject of erosion is sad - but true. It seems that a lot of things - not just land are eroding in this society. Including values, I don't mean to sound down and I think we could change all of it - just trying to figure out how.

LittleCely said...

It's amazing how nature adapts to itself. Erosion can leave such interesting shapes that we wouldn't even image could hold. Very informative post.

Siv Ottem said...

Everlasting thrift---beautiful and what a great name! Smoked Eels are a popular dish here. I don't like them and preparing them to eat is no fun at all! My grandpa used to hammer their heads to the wall and then pull the skin off......

Bish Denham said...

What a fabulous name for a flower! And they're beautiful too. Sea horses are among my most favorite of sea creatures. I've never seen one in the wild, but I have in aquariums. It's interesting that it's the males who incubate the young.

Silvia Villalobos said...

Beautiful, Hilary. Sad about the erosion, though, but I suppose that's expected. I always liked the word estuaries, not sure why. The Sea Pinks as you look over the water, that's so nice.

Tina said...

I grew up spending summers on the Chesapeake Bay, which is a giant estuary. I's a unique ecosystem that's for sure! Your photos are gorgeous as always, and now I want some of those pretty pink flowers!

I find eels fascinating...maybe in May I'll have time to go back and read that post...egads time is scarce these days!
Tina @ Life is Good
A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

loverofwords said...

I remember walking through eel grass to find clams along the Connecticut shore. I do miss being near water and I agree with Alex about how people insist upon building on shoreline that becomes eroded or washed away but they build again, a battle with God, in a way.

Paula said...

What an education. I had no idea that eels migrated. It is sad what erosion is doing to our shorelines.

Lisa said...

The Thrift is beautiful. On the coast of Oregon is a beautiful estuary where the Salmon River meets the Pacific. On one side of mouth are cliffs, on the other an ever-changing spit of sandy beaches. One of the most beautiful places I've ever been... If you like, you can see some photos of it here... http://www.adventurekayaking.org/salmon-river-estuary/

Michelle Wallace said...

Those sea horses are such cute creatures...
Erosion made me think about more than the geographical aspect... erosion of values/norms in society, on a global level, which often leads to a widespread apathy, is a sad and frightening reality...

Julie Jordan Scott said...

How wild is this: just yesterday I was in an estuary and I saw eels. The Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific is rich, isn't it? I bet there was erosion going on, too, if I took the time to investigate more.

There is only so much a Mom can do while chaperoning a field trip.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog during the A to Z challenge!

cleemckenzie said...

Eels are darned scary when you come upon them in the sea, but they're shy and usually go the other way when you blunder along. Lovely picture of the seahorse and the Sea Pinks.

Munir said...

I used to think that an Eel was a kind of snake.

klahanie said...

Hi human, Hilary,

My paws are so sore. This A to Z is way too much. Arf and sigh....

I wonder if I could purchase an electric eel. Buy it using my "charge" card.

Eeeks and thank you for another informative pawsting.

Penny, the pawsitive host of the Alphabark Challenge, 2014!

Julie Flanders said...

Wow that top picture from Wales is amazing. I thought that was my favorite until I got to the Sea Pinks at the bottom. Now I can't decide. :)

Stephen Tremp said...

Hilary, yet one more amazing and informative post. Your blog is still one of the best out there. I loved geology classes all throughout school.

I find erosion fascinating and use this as an example of how the trial and tribulations of life can erode away at our lives, yet we have to rise to the challenge and overcome.

And who doesn't like the wildlife around estuaries? I know I do. Thanks for a great post! Now my brain feels full.

Val Poore said...

Ishall have to catch up with the posts from A, Hilary! Being away means lots to read when I come home. I love your photos here, especially the Sea Pinks. How pretty they are! We all know a bit too much about erosion this year, don't we?

Lynn said...

There we go - I couldn't get the comment form on this one earlier. It kept timing out. Good job on the A to Z challenge so far. Love the outdoorsy nature of the posts. Those Sea Pinks are gorgeous.

Morgan said...

So many E words!!!! Eeeeek. ;)

Props to you, Hilary, for doing the A-Z. So beyond me--you're amazing! And loved learning. Now Eels are going to be on my mind all day.

Inger said...

I feel like I'm attending the University of Hilary here. What a wonderful post. I will now tell my husband that we have to make a trip to the ocean this year. I have never seen the Sea Pinks, they are so beautiful.

Sue McPeak said...

Another amazing post full of interesting and important aspects of your homeland as well as several 'E's that occur world wide. Thanks for your visits this first week of AtoZ. I appreciate your comments and have enjoyed your blog very much.
Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

Suze said...

I think you are a person for whom life holds constant wonder, Hilary. I'll confess I didn't even know the definition of estuary until I read this post. How sad is that!? Thank you for educating us all.

Guilie Castillo said...

This is fantastic, Hilary! I'm learning so much from your posts this April. Eels--mighty creatures indeed. I recently read Graham Swift's Waterland and loved it, not just for the story but for the history--and I learned a lot about eels :)

Thanks for stopping over at Quiet Laughter yesterday. Your visits make my day :)

Margie said...

Hilary,
I am so enjoying these posts!
I am learning so much and loving all you share.
You have a wonderful way of drawing the reader in, thank you!

Have an awesome day!

Mason Canyon said...

The Everlasting Thrift is beautiful. Such intriguing information today, as always. I'm learning so much for your A to Z Challenge posts.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Patsy .. have a lovely trip and we’ve emailed .. enjoy the break away with lots of writing!

@ Manzanita – nature calls the shots doesn’t it. Plants are amazing aren’t they ... the way they grow ... and your Irish or Scottish moss grows as a cushion too. But it’s lovely that it stays spongy ... like some of the plants that dry out, and then ‘come back to life’ when the rains come ...

@ Jen – I hadn’t realised that Everlasting Thrift was quite such a major plant for florists ... and I got put off eels ... I had one cooked for me after I’d just arrived back from South Africa and I was so tired .. and just didn’t need eel to eat! I really should give it another go sometime ... I don’t like some smoked food much either ...

@ Maggie – aren’t the sea pinks beautiful. What great memories that you have of your Dad ... they must be so special .. and fighting eels – not many of us have done that ... wonderful .. and many thanks ...

@ Julie – thanks ... I wouldn’t want to get too near an eel either .. they are so slippery ..

@ Fanny – no worries – I appreciate all who are coming by to read ... and your comment about deckchairs .. they can be very tricky to set up, and possibly give us pinched fingers too ..

Southport Dunes ... at least it looks like they’re doing their best to protect them ... the rabbits won’t do the dunes much good – but the foxes will enjoy their meals! It sounds a wonderful area to live hear ...

Many thanks re the research ... I just enjoying find snippets of interesting information to post about ..

@ Karen – yes I guess if I had a chance I’d prefer the sea-pinks!

@ Brian – aren’t sea horses just wonderful to see ...

I know erosion creates some amazing textures .. that was why I put that photo of the wave platform photo ... beautiful wear and tear ...

@ Ros – mermaids are coming up – under K! Eels I have a huge amount of respect for – having written about them in a previous post ... but the estuary photos, when we can see the aerial shots – really show up what’s what ... but estuaries are incredible aren’t they ...

@ Susan – so pleased you enjoyed the visit and learnt something – it’s one of my aims ...

@ Inge – erosion really is taking hold at the moment, and the effects will continue on as the rocks adjust ...

You raise an interesting point .. about people not helping themselves ... just wish people could be compassionate, kind, caring etc ..

@ Rosey – yes erosion uncovers lots of new interesting landscapes or new archaeological finds ..

Good heavens .. really a seahorse had attached itself to one of you – how awesome, I agree!

@ Robin – you’re right nature seems to have perfected itself, and when it gets out of balance it readjusts ... thanks the estuarine water separates itself so easily ..

@ Teresa – exactly Nature does know what to do .. and gets on with balancing its life force ..

@ Kaushik – we certainly need to do more to protect Nature in all its ways – flora, fauna, coastline, inland, et al ... we need to think of the 7 generations ahead ..

Thanks so much to you all - part 2 following ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Alex – on your east and southern coasts I can understand the hurricane concern ... sadly we have the need for more housing, the ‘demand’ that we build here for good views ... and no-one deeming to think of the damage such developments will cause .. so true ..

@ Luanna – eels are strange creatures aren’t they ... but estuaries and all the worlds they can contain ... birds, plants, fauna etc

@ Jo – as you say about the housing and my reply to Alex agrees with you ..
I expect sea-pinks were on the marshes .. but they certainly stand out on the cliffs as we walked in Cornwall .. The rivers are much cleaner ... so much so fish are returning ...

@ Sandie – so pleased you were able to take time out and enjoy the posts with their photos ...yes unfortunately our values aren’t that great any more ... somehow we all need to stand out as leaders and lead by example ..

@ Cely – it is amazing isn’t how nature adapts ... and those waves shapes made me want to post the picture .. and not something I expected to find so eroded like that ...

@ Siv – Everlasting thrift is so pretty isn’t it. Yes Norway has a great range of smoked foods – I’d definitely try some if I came over .. ah! But I see you don’t like them! How horrid – but I know that’s what they used to do to take the skin off ...

@ Bish – it’s a pretty name isn’t it .. being able to see sea-horses up close is one of the advantages of conservation ...and it’s fantastic how nature adapts as necessary and with sea-horses the males do the incubating ... thanks for reminding us ...

@ Silvia – erosion is part of nature isn’t it and life as it goes on .. and the sea pinks are framed by the cliff and coastline ... so true ..

@ Tina – I’d love to visit some of these iconic places ... and Chesapeake is one of them. I hope you get a chance to read the Slippery Eel post anon ... but the sea-pinks are just so lovely aren’t they ...

@ Natalie – wonderful memories of your search for clams in Connecticut. I miss the rocky shore line ... I have the sea and some chalk! But would love a craggy, rocky shoreline .. Yes the housing developments – now there are so many of them on the shores – doesn’t help conservation and protection of our coasts ...

@ Paula – many thanks .. eels are quite incredible creatures ... and erosion is part of nature, and we must accept it ..

@ Lisa – the Thrift is beautiful isn’t it .. and your Salmon rivers in Oregon and Canada are a site to behold ... I saw them when I came over to Canada. Then the way the river alters its course all the time ...

The link you gave us – as you say extraordinary photo of the river and its different zones.

@ Michelle – aren’t the little sea-horses lovely

Erosion of our values – a few people have mentioned that .. and you’ve added to that thought line .. and the apathy we seem to have got into .. it is very worrying from so many points of view – I agree ...

@ Julie – what a coincidence – yes as you say – that you saw eels while at the estuary with the kids ... I’m not sure if you mean Aquarium here or just the beach itself .. but whichever ... the American coastlines are rich in wildlife ... and will be eroding, as you mention ... it’s not always easy to see, unless we keep a 24 hour watch – unlikely for most of us.

Great that you’re taking the kids out on their field trip – lucky them ... pleasure about the visit ..

Thanks everyone .. part 3 following ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...


@ Lee – most creatures disappear when the ‘dreaded’ human plods along ... I’ve never seen an eel in the wild ... but their history is incredible ..

@ Munir – I think we all get muddled with creatures at times .. so it’s not surprising that you didn’t realise for a while .. about the snake and the eel ..

@ Penny – it is pawsitively tiring on one’s fingers .. but I’ve met so many delightful humans via the Challenge; then there is this wonderful blogger who twists and turn our words .. and brings much amusement with his comments – you’re a good dawg doing all the pawpawing, I say .. charging eels?! Fun – thanks ..

@ Julie – the wave erosion photo I just had to put in .. so I’m glad you noted it – while the sea-pinks are all our favourite .. they are very pretty

@ Stephen – I was a fan of geography classes, I guess geology was included there too ... and thank you. Coastal and estuarine flora and fauna are lovely and so varied ..

You’ve raised another point about erosion .. and I so agree we need to rise to the challenge and overcome all the erosion we encounter in our lives ...

@ Val – I saw you’d got to South Africa. The erosions of our coasts – the Dutch and the British has been far reaching, that’s for sure .. the Sea-pinks can brighten our lives ...

@ Lynn – Blogger does funny things at times ... frustrating, but I just keep on trying, if I remember! Thanks re my postings ... it’s being fun ..

@ Morgan – eeeks for E words ... well I don’t have a family to look after, so I can spend some extra time ... sorry about those Eels ...

@ Inger – I wish I was that knowledgeable ... but I learn as I go and pass on snippets of information that enlightens or amuses me ..

I hope you get that trip to the Ocean – it’s so lovely spending some time by the sea ... the sea-pinks are a feature of our cliffs in the west country, Wales and Scotland ...

@ Sue – yes lots of things occur all over ... but these are what I would call ‘normal’ British aspects found around our shores ...


Good to see you all – thanks so much for visiting and commenting – very much appreciated ... cheers and now week 2: Hilary

Rhonda Albom said...

Loaded with really interesting information. We have been doing a bit of tide pooling lately, but it's all salt water. I had no idea eels could travel that far.

J.L. Campbell said...

Lots of information here, Hilary.

Seahorses are fascinating creatures. I tend to think they are creatures fables.

Robyn Campbell said...

That thrift is gorgeous. We have a different type thrift growing here on our farm. I love seeing it in the spring. That picture from South Wales is striking, Hil. Love the lesson for homeschool on erosion.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Rhonda - these tide pools are salt water usually .. and I knew about eels travelling that far - but when I wrote about it -it amazed me.

@ JL - yes I seem to do info! Seahorses and Unicorns .. seem to be creatures of fables aren't they ..

@ Robyn - the thrift is so colourful - I expect you'll get lots of thrift appearing now - nothing like Spring.

I'd like to put larger pictures up - but then I'd swamp the words .. but I certainly couldn't resist that Welsh photo of the wave-cut platform ..

Thanks so much for visiting - it's lovely seeing you here .. cheers Hilary

Viola Fury said...

Hillary,

We have estuaries here in Florida, but the most famous in the U. S. would be the Mississippi Delta, which is spectacular from the air. It is inhabited with all manner of estuarial creatures, and nutria, which look like giant guinea pigs! The deltas are also peopled by Cajuns, who have lived there for centuries and are most adept at living off the land and avoiding outsiders! Thank you so much for sharing! Mary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Mary - yes I didn't do D for Delta - as we don't really have them here .. but we do have estuaries. I imagine the Mississippi is an incredible place (river) to see from all angles - and that too I'd love to do one day ..

I've heard of the Nutria .. and I love the food of the Cajuns - and how sensible to avoid us human lot and live their own life for so long ... and being able to live off the land .. we can't any more ..

Cheers Hilary