Diary: Friday 22nd March 2002

Conditions at New Brighton

(43/ 31 South, 172/ 43 East)

SUNRISE: – 6:33 am.

TIDE: – Low at 4:19 (0.7m)

MOON: – Rise 2:19 pm, set 11:12 pm. First quarter

‘Beat the alarm again, rushed to the beach in anticipation of finding a sand scarab grub dug in somewhere. 6:25 am arrived Beatty Street to find the nor’wester had been blowing during the night. Sand from dunes had uplifted and dispersed over the entire beach all the way to the sea, forming what looked as drops of damp sand and making track-finding a little more difficult though not impossible. Before long had found one large mature set leading out into the water near the sea and needless to say had to flag that one away as it’s end was washed out. Was pleased the wind had died down to a manageable knotage as didn’t fancy sand in the camera.

    Then mere yards from the first find lay a recent track laid down only minutes beforehand – spied a middling size grub in the wet sand half burrowed in. Fantastic, found one in action and time was 6:40 am only seven minutes after Sunrise – That was very odd, as the wet sand, apart from this small area was liberally covered in gull prints and there had been (enough light) in excess of thirty minutes for the gulls to grab ( the Larva) for breakfast.
How come they’d missed tins one? Took several pictures for Dr Ricardo, Terry, and perhaps to draw.

The scavenging gulls should have found this at the very least half an hour ago and was extra pleased the grub had not ventured out seawards any further or else those tracks would be under water. Pulled out a film can, extracted the plastic grocery bag and scooped up sand, placed larva delicately inside- What a find; now the nor’wester was up and the dry sand from the dunes was being lifted most unceremoniously, – floated across the beach down towards the sea. The camera copped it I’m afraid. Hoovered it clean upon return. 

Rushed home to find a suitable container but once there couldn’t find the exact size tin had in mind. In the kitchen with firm resolve rife, commandeered a tin of kitchen ware namely a tin of crushed pineapple and emptied the contents into a bowl to place in the fridge. Would be nice to have that for a change tonight. The empty tin filled with wet sand wandered down to the sand aquarium.

The job, to be successful, had need of a little accuracy in duplicating the natural former environment of the larva. So dug back a little sand and sunk tin in flush with the dry surface sand and placed the grub halfway into a small hole formed with finger, and smoothed the wet sand into place around it. Topped up with salt water. Now was the time to leave the poor thing in peace to carry out what hoped would be an exercise in natural development. Had two things going for it now. The grub would, if all panned out, surface when finished doing the submersion trick and pop back up to the surface, crawl off to dig into the dry sand, to hibernate or whatever it is they do, then may discover exactly how long the submersion period was. Two feats achieved from one easy effort. Must take great care of any grubs brought home if their survival and growth to mature Beetle was to be achieved.

That little live grubby friend, after several inspections, took three quarters of an hour to fully submerge, leaving a small mound of churned up sand at the top of his burrow.

To approximate as best could, poured a little salt water over the diggings to ‘settle’ things and finally left SSL to its own devices. Will have to keep all of these containers full to the top with sea water.’