Thursday, January 28, 2010

The beach, a world of its own

Marram grass and buckwheat
Marram grass and buckwheat around it

Seriously, when it's raining this much, you need some beach nostalgia more than anything else. Let's go back to the Contis beach and have a closer look! Because at first, when you see that long white beach stretching out, it’s like a desert. Just sand, nothing else. But when you start looking, there are many things to discover, both animal and vegetal.
The Atlantic coastal area in my region, Landes, is to a great extent a protected area. The balance between then sandy shore and the pine forest next to it is fragile. The plants have a hard time growing in the salty air in the sand, but they play an important role to maintain the sand dunes in place and avoid the sand from spreading further inland.

Debris on the beach
Another important role is played by that disgraceful debris you see washed up on the beach. A mix of dead crabs, wood and algae. It's no pretty sight, but it gives food and protection to a whole world of small animals that live on the beach and to the birds.

Children on the Contis beach

The sand beach is a particular landscape, very beautiful when you look closer. Please respect the signs to protect it, do not pick any plants or flowers from the dunes and don’t walk outside the indicated paths - to keep this beautiful place as it is!

Shell collection
Along the coast you can find 300 different kinds of crustacean. Some examples from Clara’s collection.

Sea spurge

Prickly saltwort
Prickly saltwort, I believe

Sea holly
Sea holly

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