A walk along the beaches at Camusdarach just north of Arisaig off the B8008 rarely disappoints in terms of wildlife. Great northern divers are regularly seen just out to sea together with a good range of other coastal birds. The dunes behind the beach provide a great habitat for a range of wildflowers and the dense gorse fringing provides both colour and shelter for a wide range of birds.
Made famous as Ben's beach in the film Local Hero, the expansive white sands are never busy, even in the summer months, and are one of our favourite wildlife sites. We normally time our visits for low tide to allow for a spot of beach combing.
Feeling a little blue with all the wet and windy weather, we headed off down there earlier this week, knowing that a visit to Camusdarach never fails to enlighten our souls.
No notable bird sightings, but we were captivated by the sand mason worms along the low tide line. We've often seen these tube like protrusions from the sand before, but have never really looked at them that closely. Hands and knees were in order, together with the macro setting on our simple snapamatic digital camera. Even on a dull day, the tiny grains of sand and shell fragments affixed to the tube like protrusion from the sand glistened brightly.
It's amazing to think that beneath this tube lies a 30cm long polychaete worm, Lanice conchilega. Polychaetes, or bristle worms, are a very common and diverse class of mainly marine worm and seen all around the UK coastline. Sand mason worms are present around the entire UK coastline (habitat permitting) and we have seen them sqillions of time before protruding out of the sand at low tide. We're so glad we took the time to have a closer look...
More information on sand mason worms can be found on The Marine Life Information Network.