Field meeting at Shell Bay, Dorset April 1962

A party of seven members and friends met at Sandbanks and proceeded by the ferry to Shell Bay. The abundance of shells at Shell Bay is dependent on the interaction of the longshore drift and the strong tidal currents flowing in and out of the narrow entrance to Poole Harbour. Normally the currents deposit shells on the western side of the entrance (i.e. Shell Bay) but on rare occasions they turn up in equal abundance at Sandbanks the other side.

The majority of shells are dead and worn but excellent fresh examples can be found on searching and at low tide live material can be collected in the vicinity of the old Quay - a mass of jumbled rocks with a fairly typical rocky shore fauna of gastropods.

Conditions were not ideal on Sunday the 7th. as a strong N.W. wind was blowing sand off the sand dunes onto the shore and covering the shells up as the tide receded. However, several interesting species were found including Velutina velutina - a species which I have never seen from Shell Bay before. Several of the party were in Dorset for the weekend and managed to collect on Saturday as well, on the two days collecting a considerable fauna was recorded and the complete list is being prepared by Mr. T. E. Crowley for the Marine Census. Notable finds included complete (i.e. both valves) examples of Pandora margaritacea, Lutraria lutraria, Laevicardium norvegicum and Gari depressa. Single valves of the first three species are common. The elephant's tusk, Dentalium entalis was found and the visit was marked by the extreme abundance of razor shells, Ensis ensis, Ensis arcuatus and Solen marginatus. Unfortunately the tide did not recede far enough for us to test Mr. Raffray's method of collecting live razor shells with salt. The party dispersed for the journey home at about 4*30 p.m.

Mrs. T. E. Crowley and Mr. C. P. C. Paul