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You don’t have to travel to far-flung exotic destinations to spot some spectacular marine wildlife. Whether it is denizens of the deep, a giant of the open ocean or a pod of excited dolphins, the waters around Falmouth are home to more than you can imagine.

The Atlantic’s warm water allows the area to support many marine species and the tidal flows bring nutrients to the surface to attract and support even more wildlife.

Ready for a marine wildlife adventure? To inspire your inner David Attenborough or Dora the Explorer, here is a little list of Falmouth’s top ten marine residents and visitors.

Basking sharks: They may be huge but these gentle giants could not be further from the image of Jaws. They tend to wander into the area in May.

Lion’s Mane Jelly Fish: Most of us have spotted a jellyfish washed up on a beach, but what would you do if it was the size of a dust bin lid and swimming slowly past you?

Seals: Is there anything cuter than a baby seal? Falmouth bay is home to resident populations of Atlantic Grey Seals, often spotted relaxing on rocks and enjoying the Cornish sunshine. Not a bad life eh?

Dolphins: An iconic sight, huge pods of these stunning and smart marine speed machines can be spotted regularly in and around Falmouth Bay. Most common are the bottlenose variety. One wildlife expert was lucky enough to witness the grand sight of 190 dolphins swimming in circles, working as a team to round up a big shoal of herring recently in Falmouth Bay.

The colourful Cuckoo Wrasse: This fish is absolutely beautiful with its electric blue and orange colouring, you won’t be disappointed when you spot one.

The Sandwich Tern: A beautiful bird that spectacularly dives into the water from. Small numbers arrive in the spring and can often be seen perched on the yellow buoys off Gyllyngvase beach and feeding on sand eels in Falmouth Bay and within the Fal estuary.

Shags and Cormorants: Another bird variety that is often seen diving for fish in the harbour, the estuary and Falmouth Bay and are often in shoals of hundreds!

Hermit crabs: How would life feel if you had to carry your home on your back every day? Nature’s caravaners, these little crabs are nocturnal! Just this week, a rare type of hermit crab was rediscovered at a beach in Falmouth after a 30 year absence. The very small hermit crab that was discovered on Castle Beach in Falmouth is scientifically known as clibanarius erythropus, and it has not been recorded in Cornish waters since 1985, usually being found in warmer waters.

Decorator spider crabs: Spider Crabs can be found either within the kelp or moving almost enmasse across the sea bed as they move to and from their mating grounds. They very much resemble spiders of the sea.

Brittle Stars: Parts of Falmouth Bay are covered in these small starfish like creatures that carpet the sea bed in their millions. They come in a wide variety of colours from blue to orange and white. Their legs can be seen pointing upwards trying to collect suspended organisms that have washed out of the rivers.

You don’t have to set off to sea to see spectacular marine wildlife in Falmouth. A wander along the low tide line and a look in the rock pools will uncover some fabulous hidden gems.

 


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