Washed up starfish provide feast for gulls

Starfish
Starfish

RECENT high winds and rough seas have seen thousands of common starfish being washed up along the Rye coastline.

It has provided an unexpected feast for gulls which have been enjoying the rich pickings.

Conservationists say this could benefit smaller seabirds at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve as it reduces the larger herring gull’s appetite for eggs and chicks.

Dr David Gibson, from the National Marine Aquarium, said: “This can happen when starfish become exhausted after spawning.

“They like to spawn in shallow water near a pebble beach. Unfortunately after this event they are susceptible to the vagaries of tides and wind and can wash up on the beach.”

He said he was not concerned about the numbers of dead starfish: “They have already spawned. It is part of the natural breeding process.”