Storm Arwen: Hundreds of starfish washed up on beach

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Image source, Charlie Maciejewski
Image caption,
Starfish, crabs and clams were found on the beach at Culbin Sands

Hundreds of starfish and other sea creatures have been found washed up on a beach after Storm Arwen.

Charlie Maciejewski, of Inverness, came across the scene at Culbin Sands, near Nairn.

He said the stranding, which also included clams and crabs, covered a 100m (328ft) stretch of sand on the Moray Firth coast.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) said extreme weather was usually the likely cause of such incidents.

It is not known if any of the animals survived. MCS said that in some similar cases the animals washed up alive and made their own way back to sea, but others were killed.

During Storm Emma in 2018 strong winds and large waves left hundreds of starfish and shellfish dead on miles of beaches in West Norfolk.

Image source, Charlie Maciejewski
Image caption,
The animals covered a 100m stretch of sand

In 2017, thousands of starfish were stranded on a beach on Black Isle on the Moray Firth over a period of weeks in a behaviour called starballing.

Most of the creatures found at Rosemarkie were thought to have been washed back out to sea in the following days.

Experts at Plymouth University's Marine Institute coined the starballing phrase after observing starfish change their location the previous year.

Image source, Charlie Maciejewski

Storm Arwen hit the UK on Friday and Scotland's east coast was battered by gale-force winds.

Following the storm, hundreds of seal pups were found dead at a nature reserve in the Scottish Borders.

The National Trust for Scotland - which operates the site at St Abb's Head - said it had never seen damage of such scale before.

It said that in a small area of bay at Pettico Wick there were 224 dead pups in the water with more washing ashore.

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