Wednesday 10 February 2016

Goose Barnacles

Lade - cold, dry, sunny, nw 3 - With a promising weather forecast we spent the day in the field just mooching about and generally enjoying the wealth of wildlife on offer within a two mile radius of the cottage.
  The local patch was notable for the superb light on the wildfowl, particularly the hundreds of Teal on both lakes. The drakes looked stunning in their nuptial plumage and many were making that lovely `preep` call as they fussed around the ducks.

                                Teal, Lade

RSPB - A circuit of the reserve produced a host of wintering ducks on Burrowes, including 3 Smew, one of which was a drake, plus a Slavonian Grebe. Elsewhere, Goldcrest and Stonechat near Christmas Dell; Black-tailed Godwit, Merlin, Raven, Marsh Harriers and Bearded Tit at Dengemarsh; Peregrine, Great White Egret and thousands of Lapwings and Golden Plovers on the Boulderwall fields.

                                Slavonian Grebe, Burrowes

Dungeness - A walk along the tideline between the boardwalk and the seawatch hide produced four batches of Goose Barnacles attached to plastic fenders and floats. Their long retractable stalks were anchored to the flotsam with the bodies protected by a series of bluish translucent plates. These extraordinary pelagic animals had been washed ashore on the recent storm; many thanks to OL for the tip off as to their whereabouts. Also of note along this section of the beach was a line of Sea Kale, where the waves had battered the foreshore exposing the `trunks`.

                               Goose Barnacles, Dungeness
                                Sea Kale stumps, Dungeness


  1. Fascinated by the Goose Barnacles, I've never seen or heard of them before.

  2. Derek hi, apparently, in the olden days before the Barnacle Goose breeding grounds were discovered, the appearance of the shell with their feathery appendages lead some to believe that the barnacle was the embryonic stages of the Barnacle Goose - what a wonderfully imaginative thought! In my time at sea I`ve seen huge colonies attached to driftwood, mostly out in the Atlantic, and in Spain they considered a delicacy with people risking life and limb to collect them from rocky foreshores. Amazing animals, and once they`re connected to whatever flotsam and jetsam, they remain there for life. Nature sure is fascinating.

  3. But don't try eating these ones, totally different species and I'm not sure of their edibility (or lack of!)Gotta be worth holding your nose and thoroughly checking the innards of a big clump of goose barnacles like those for stowaway Columbus Crabs! Best of luck if you try.

  4. Thanks Gibster, they certainly don't look appetising, but then neither do dogfish, until they morph into Huss!