By-the-wind-sailors wash up at South Milton Sands

 

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The discovery made at South Milton Sands – by-the-wind-sailors. Credit National Trust

 

National Trust Rangers at South Milton Sands have discovered dozens of ‘by-the-wind-sailors’ (a colonial hydroid related to jellyfish) washed up along the coast as a result of the strong winds.

These beautiful little creatures reach up to 10 cm in length, with a small tentacle which hangs down from their disc-shaped form to catch food. They have a small ‘sail’ that can run from north-west to south-east on the disc or south-west to north-east, moving them in different directions in the wind.

David Bullock, head of nature conservation for the National Trust, said: “They are wonderful. The surfers call them bluebottles because of their sting.

“They turn up in their thousands after strong southwesterlies, having drifted across the Atlantic. One of my many epiphany moments as a kid rock pooling was finding them on Rhosilli beach and I still think about it now.

“I found some last September at Kynance Cove. It’s a good sign that other stuff is in the strandline such as sea beans and other drift seeds from the Amazon. It’s time to go beachcombing!”

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