For this trip we visited the coast, across from Heyders Road (near Spencer Park). The tide was quite high, so we searched mainly on the dunes and along the strandline (where debris has been left by high tides).
One find that puzzled us was these flask-like objects, on the back of the fore dunes (so presumably not washed up). NatureWatch came to the rescue, and they were identified as a species of cup fungi, that is associated with marram grass.
Another item we took a while to figure out turned out to be holdfasts from seaweed.
Inside the fungi were some (purple!) springtails.
This shell is from an awning clam. It has a distinctive brown covering (periostracum). This is an organic outer layer that many shelled animals have. It covers the more calcareous shell and is often a distinctive colour and/or texture. The presence of the periostracum facilitates growth of the shell, see here.
Another shell we found was from a species of Venus clam known as ringed dosinia. These are endemic to New Zealand.
Attached to this mussel shell was a hydrozoan. These are colonial animals, which we have also seen at the estuary, see here.
This jellyfish was another interesting find. The clear body with red dots was quite striking. It was moving (just) so we returned it to the water.
A crab was seen moulting – which is how they are able to grow in size, since they have a hard exoskeleton. Several abandoned exoskeletons were also seen.
The strandline had dozens of the usual sandhoppers, including this one.
The most common plant on the dunes was probably marram grass, however there were several other species on the front of the fore dunes, including pingao and ice plant. Red-purple groundsel was also present.
Also present, though not photographed, was the native spinifex grass – part of a dune restoration project at this site.
Our thanks to the folk at NatureWatch for help with identifications.