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Polychaete research in the Falklands by Teresa Darbyshire - day 18

Night Heron
Photo 1: Night Heron
Photo 2: the wreck of the Jhelum

This was an odd ‘in between’ kind of day. With no car to get around I was very limited in my options of what to do. I got a lift over to the Fisheries department this morning and spent a few hours putting notes together of the animals I’ve found so far and the sites I’ve been to. I also managed to put names to some of species by going through relevant papers I had.

Eventually I put together what pots and chemicals I needed to take with me on this weekend’s dive survey and walked back into Stanley. This was actually very pleasant as the weather at that point was warm and sunny and the wind seemed to be dropping off. On my way I passed a Night Heron (photo 1) at the water’s edge, the first I have seen not sitting still on a nest. Apparently they are generally most active at night, hence the name! All very tranquil.

The low tide was late afternoon today and rather than waste it without a car, I decided to sample a different site along the edge of Stanley. This similarly involved a nice walk along the water’s edge deciding which spot to dig up. By this point, the usual strong wind had become a gentle breeze and the water was unusually still, it all made a nice change.

Stanley is a long, stretched out town, so walking along the front takes a while. There’s not a great deal of change along the shore but I picked a spot just short of the wreck of the Jhelum (photo 2), an old wooden sailing ship condemned and left to rot all the way back in 1871!

This site was slightly different to the one we first sampled over two weeks ago. The stones embedded in a coarse sand were covered underneath in the tubes of the same terebellid worm we found on day 1. Although these worms were the same, there were lots of others in the sand to pick out as well and I am hopeful that some of these may be different. Again, being car-less meant no going back to the lab to look at my catch under the microscope. I had to content myself with sorting them out in the flat instead.

Plans are underway to hire a car next week to get me mobile again for my last week of sampling which will be great. As for tomorrow, we are leaving at 6am for Egg Harbour on the edge of Falkland Sound between East Falkland, where I am now, and the other main island, West Falkland, where we will be diving for the next few days. Hopefully, the still evening is a good sign of the weather we will get.

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