Over the long Easter weekend our Citizen Science Data Officer, Harriet, stocked up on suncream (and a rain coat – better safe than sorry in March!), eggcase ID guides, and embarked on an eight hour journey to Bangor, North Wales, to take part in a special weekend of easter eggcase hunts organised by North Wales Wildlife Trust on behalf of Project SIARC. 

Project SIARC is a multi-partner project focused on shark conservation in Wales, and one of their lines of work includes engaging local communities in citizen science projects – one of these projects being the Shark Trust’s flagship project, the Great Eggcase Hunt (GEH). North Wales Wildlife Trust (NWWT) runs eggcase hunts on behalf on Project SIARC, reporting all their finds to the GEH. Over the long Easter weekend, NWWT hosted five events and I joined in the fun for four of them!

In North Wales you can typically find eggcases from four main species: Spotted Rays, Thornback Rays, Smallspotted Catsharks and Nursehounds, although eggcases from other species can be found on occasion. Typically, Nursehound eggcases are the most common find, especially around the Llŷn Peninsula!

The four events I went to (Pwllheli, Nefyn, Tywyn and Llandanwg) were attended by a grand total of 116 people  – plus the NWWT, Project SIARC and Shark Trust team members. The sun came out and off we went, looking along the strand line and at the base of the sand dunes for eggcases. In total we found a whopping 679 eggcases!

A map of the eggcase hunts that I attended (including my home base, Bangor) over the Easter weekend.

Plas Heli, in Pwllehli, was the hunt that yielded the most eggcases, with a phenomenal 444 eggcases. Being my first eggcase hunt in Wales this was a fantastic start to the weekend, and seeing so many buckets just overflowing with eggcases was incredibly exciting – although it did take us a while to count them all!

The other eggcase hunts certainly required a little more hunting, but with eager attendees and some keen eyes, we were still super successful! In Porth Nefyn we found 86 eggcases, on Tywyn Beach there were 79 eggcases and then at Llandanwg Beach we found another 70 eggcases – this time including a Blonde Ray eggcase, which was a nice surprise!

Overall, it was a great weekend. The Welsh weather really smiled upon us, giving us gorgeous sunny weather on each of the four eggcase hunts that I attended. It was fantastic to see so many people taking part, engaging with both the Great Eggcase Hunt and Project SIARC. Everyone was eagerly looking for eggcases and asking lots of great questions. It was lovely to take part in the eggcase hunts run by our NWWT and Project SIARC colleagues, and I look forwards to seeing what kinds of eggcases our Welsh colleagues and volunteers find in future eggcase hunts!