They don’t just eat chips…

We are all familiar with Herring Gulls hanging around the town, scoffing chips and other food items, or clearing up all the fish bits around the Stade, but although much of their food results from man’s activities, they can of course hunt or scavenge in a more natural way.

There are usually a few hundred Herring gulls, mostly young birds,  on the rocks and beach at Fairlight Cove, and examination of the beach shows that they are catching and eating quite a few crabs. The photo shows a typical group of footprints and a dismembered crab, but it doesn’t tell us if the crab was dead or caught alive. As well as quite a few examples of this I found part of a Starfish next to a similar group of gull prints.

But what sort of crab is it ?  Its clearly not an Edible Crab[I did find one of those similarly dealt with], the photo shows the detail of the carapace and you can see three pointed protrusions between the antennae. It seems  this indicate it is a crab of the genus Liocarcinus of which 3 species occur. From the shape of the claws it looks like L. depurator , Harbour Crab , but I can’t be sure…

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