NATURE AND WILDLIFE

 

FISHING

Sea angling

The southern part of the beach can produce flatfish and eel using lugworm and sandeel bait. Spinning for Pollack from Black Rock is also possible.

Coarse Fishing

Enquire locally for further information on fishing the Annagh River.


 

WILDLIFE

Many types of seaweeds, shellfish and other marine life are easy to investigate in the rock pools on Black Rock and on the rocky shore throughout the area. The area is an SAC – a special area of conservation. Spanish Point holds a very high number of littoral reef communities (13 different community types). The low shore and subtidal fringe at both Spanish Point and Cloghaunicy Point have high species richness that ranged from 71 to 85 species. Subtidally, the area is important for its deep, exposed reef communities that are characterized erect sponges and the fragile sea fan Eunicella verrucosa. There are a number of rare species present including the sponge Tetilla zetlandica which has only known from 4 localities in Ireland between Galway Bay and the Kerry Head Shoal. Algal communities are well developed, with an excellent diversity of red and brown algae species.


 

BIRDWATCHING

See information board at the beach for details of species that can be seen locally e.g. gulls, oystercatchers, purple sandpiper and turnstones.


 

GEOLOGY

Site Importance

This site is of National Importance. The rocks date back over 330 million years and show wave cut platforms, ripple beds & goniatite fossils.  The rocks are Upper Carboniferous (Namurian) sandstone, siltstone and mudstone of the Central Clare Group.

Main Geological or Geomorphological Interest

The coastal section at Spanish Point consists of well-bedded sandstones, siltstones and mudstones of the Upper Carboniferous (Namurian) Central Clare Group. Sedimentary structures are well preserved here and include cross-bedding, cross-laminations and symmetrical wave ripples. Some of the thicker sandstone units have undergone segmentation, or boudinage, as a result of the extensional forces exerted on the limbs of folds during the Variscan Orogeny. A marine band is present on the north side of the Spanish Point bay, with a prominent palaeosol horizon 2.5m below it stratigraphically, with rootlets, dessication cracks etc. This represents a higher ground area between deltaic channels, exposed above water when the sediments were accumulating.

See www.gsi.ie for further information.


 

ASTRONOMY

Low light levels make star gazing a pleasure in Spanish Point.

Five seashore animals to be seen at Spanish Point

 

Limpet or Bairneach (in Irish)

limpet

Limpets are herbivores and feed on tiny algae growing on the rocks – their “teeth” are about one millimetre long and are made of the hardest biological substance known.
 
They move around on the rocks when the tide is in – scraping off the algae.
 
They return “home” to the same spot every time.
 
They grind the rock to make an exact match to their shell so they have an airtight and watertight seal with the rock.
 
They find their way back home by following a trail of mucous left on the rocks – a bit like that left by a snail on land. 
 
 

Mussels or Diúilicín (in Irish)

mussles
 
Mussels are bivalves – they have two shells.
 
Dark blue in colour you can’t miss the mussels – they form  large mats across the rocks. 
 
The bigger the waves - the smaller the mussels.
 
That’s why the mussels here on the rocks at Spanish Point are so small. To have the big mussels you enjoy eating so much you need much calmer waters.
 
Mussels are filter feeders and are prey of the dog whelk.
 
 

Dog Whelk or Cuachma (in Irish)

dog whelk
 
 
 
They look pretty innocent but dog whelks are ruthless hunters and show no mercy to their prey.
 
Known as the "Killer Driller" they saw a hole into the shell of limpets (or mussels or barnacles), squirt acid into the hole to digest the limpet from the inside out and then hoover out the "goo".
 
All that can take up to a week. Yum!
 
It lays eggs that can often be found in rock crevices and seaweed. The eggs look like large grains of rice.
 
 

Sea Anemone or Bundun coiríneach (in Irish)

sea an sea an 2

Sea Anemones are soft and squishy but don’t go touching their tentacles – they sting!
 
That’s how they catch and stun their prey as it passes by.Their prey is drawn into the anemone’s stomach in the centre, the flesh is digested and any bones left are simply squirted  out.
 
They close up when the tide is out or they are threatened.
 
They are close relatives of jelly fish.
 
 

Barnacle or Garbhán carriage  (in Irish)

Barn

Tiny and grey these little animals are rough under foot but they give good grip if walking on wet rocks.

They are filter feeders and Charles Darwin studied them for many years.

These guys are closely related to .... Crabs!

Imagine an upside down crab living in a tiny volcano - that's what's inside these amazing creatures.

If you look very closely, you can see their shells are like little houses with a door that opens at the top.

They only come out to play & "socialise" & eat when the tide is in - they are hiding away inside their shells when you are around!

 

Any queries or questions click here