Autumn watching at the beach

Tuesday 19th October 2010

With Dorset’s coast starring on Autumnwatch again this year, now is a great time to get down to the beach for some coastal autumn watching, according to Dorset Wildlife Trust. Autumn heralds not only colder weather but strong winds and storms, bringing an exciting array of wildlife to the beach.

Julie Hatcher, Marine Awareness Officer at Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “This is a great time of year for a spot of beach-combing, with the chance to discover something unusual that has been washed up. We often have really spectacular storms in the autumn and they are not only great to watch but can bring exciting finds to Dorset’s beaches. Several types of goose barnacle and ‘exotic’ crabs have arrived in recent years so it will be interesting to see what this year brings us!”

After a storm, Julie recommends a walk along the strandline, as this is a rich habitat for invertebrates and the birds and mammals that feed on them. You could also find shark egg-cases (mermaid’s purses), cuttlefish bones, shipworm-riddled driftwood and seawash balls, as well as rarer finds such as exotic seabeans or even dried seahorses. Photographs of unusual finds can be sent to Dorset Wildlife Trust for identification and recording.

Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Fine Foundation Marine Centre is opening from Tuesday to Sunday 12 – 4pm during half-term, with lots of wildlife information, expert advice and live local sealife in the seawater tanks. At other times, the Marine Centre will be open on Sundays only during the winter. For more information, see or ring 01929 481044 or email

Story by Dorset Wildlife Trust