Huge sea potato

April 1st 2018

The fragile shells or tests of sea potatoes or heart urchins are regularly found on Assynt beaches, but I have never before seen one as large as this.  It was collected from the eastern shore of Oldany Island (NC0934) by Wendy Glover, after she and Steve Collie had canoed across on 4th March 2018.

Sea potatoes are recorded up to 90mm, the length of this one.  Much more usual are examples up to 40mm, like the other shown here, which, by coincidence, Gwen Richards and I found at Achmelvich the same day.

These tests have lost their ‘furry’ coating of recumbent spines, which in life help them to burrow down to 150mm beneath the sandy seabeds which are their natural habitat.  They are one of the commoner examples, on local shores, of the echinoderms, a large group of exclusively marine organisms, uniquely 5-radiate in design, which also include starfish, brittle stars and sea cucumbers.

Ian Evans

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Recent Sightings

Kittiwake

c100 adult and 1st-winter birds feeding off Clachtoll (DAH) (24/09)

Tufted Duck

two male birds on Loch Drumbeg (DAH) (22/09)

Merlin

single bird near Stoer Village Hall (DAH) (21/09)

UPDATE on colour-ringed Oystercatcher

we have heard back from the Icelandic Wader Group regarding the colour-ringed Oystercatcher spotted at Bay of Culkein on Tuesday. It was ringed, as an adult, near its nest while it was territory-guarding on 19th May this year; the location was Eskifjorour which is on the east coast of Iceland. We will post a short article on the Field Club's website in the next few days regarding other sightings of colour-ringed birds recorded in Assynt (DAH) (20/09)

Pink-footed Goose

c225, in four skeins, heading east over Culkein Drumbeg (DAH). Oh boy, it's autumn! (20/09)

Wigeon

single male in eclipse plumage Loch Inver (DAH) (20/09)

Manx Shearwater

young bird rescued from a garden at Inchnadamph (Chris Rix/Andy Summers). The bird, which was well off-course, was successfully released at Stoer the next day. (18/09)

Oystercatcher

four birds resting on rocks Bay of Culkein (DAH). One of these birds, an adult, had a combination of coloured rings on its legs. The details have been submitted to the appropriate ringing scheme, which appears to be the International Wader Study Group, and we will report back once we hear from them. (18/09)

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