Morriscastle Beach - The Shore

The Birds of the Shore

Just beyond Rusk River the beach becomes a little more shingly and by the sea shore Dunlins Oyster Catchers and Turnstones leave the delicate tracery of their feet in the wet sand.

Watch the Turnstones as their name implies turn over seaweed and stone in search of food or find the feeding pattern of the Dunlin who picks his food neatly from the sand leaving a series of little holes in the sand like the seam made by a sewing machine.

Towards Tinebearna the dune system narrows and beach become quite stony for a short while. The dunes turn into quite steep mud banks which are tenanted by hundreds of Sand Martins. The banks are holed by their nests.  The Sand Martin is a sociable little bird - from a dozen to many hundred pairs will nest close together, according to available space. The nests are at the end of tunnels of from a few inches to three or four feet in length, bored in sand banks. The actual nest is a litter of straw and feathers in a chamber at the end of the tunnel. Put in one sea bird photo

The Shells of the Shore

Along the shore you will find thousands of shells.  Walking along the shore picking shells is easy and relaxing and particularly pleasant on a balmy evening with a milky sea. Children can spend hours collecting shells and marvelling at their intricacies. Perriwinkle Cowerie Mussel and Cockle Shells and many others are scattered all over the shore in random patterns. Cockles cannot lie about their age!!Each cross band running across their shell signifies a year’s growth. In your cottage we have left some guidelines for cleaning and shining shells. They are an ideal present to bring home or to make a Sailor’s Valentine. You will find instructions on making a Valentine as well as a Guide to the Sea Shore of Ireland is in your cottage. Photo of Cockle Shell

The Underworld of the Shore

Lots of little sea creatures have secret and very busy lives right under the sand at your feet.

Carpet shell. This shy little fellow lies buried in the sand and has a foot which helps it dig very quickly back into the sand if uncovered by the tide .It hoovers up food from the sand by a tube all the time hidden from sight.

Star Fish also live very private lives just under the sand. Sometimes you can see the pattern of its five arms imprinted on the sand –an indicator that they lie just underneath.  There are 20,000 varieties of Star Fish worldwide, If taking them from the beach to make a memento of your holiday take only ones which are not alive. At Wexford Beach Homes we provide instructions in how to preserve them as treasures to take home.

The spaghetti type threads which can be seen in the sand are made by the Sand Worm. It lives in a U shaped burrow under the sand as it feeds the cast is ejected as the threads you see above on the sand.

The Oddities of the Shore

Mermaids Purses are the cases of Rock Salmons’ or Sharks’ eggs. The tough leather like texture of the purse protects the egg from predators on the sea bed where its parents have abandoned it to develop on its own. The egg takes 9 months to hatch. The abandoned shell after the Shark Pup has emerged is very light and will often be found blown quite high up on the beach.

The clusters of feather light yellow “Bubblewrap “blowing along the shore in even the lightest wind are the masses of dried out egg containers of the Whelk. Each bubble once contained an egg.

Out to Sea

The waves seen breaking on the horizon are breaking on the Money Weights Bank. The bank was called Money Weights by sailors years ago not because of any association with richness but because of the moaning type sound it makes in the east wind. The Money Weights and the Blackwater Sand Bank were the cause of many wrecks before the development of navigational skills including the wreck of The Pamona in 1846, one of the largest ship wrecks in Irish waters with the loss of over 400 lives.

Dunlin at Morriscastle Beach

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