Shellness and Leysdown-on-Sea

The wind tears the waters of the Swale into waves. The grey plovers do not linger on the drowning groynes.  The high tide roost of oystercatchers and others shelter on the tip of the shell beach.

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High tide roost mainly of oystercatchers on the ness.

A male hen harrier twists over the wide saltmarsh carried by the blow, and curlews rise and fall with accustomed grace. Two redshanks fly low and slow on their bright white wings, whilst skylarks circle and sing.

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Male hen harrier over the golden saltmarsh.

Brent geese land into the wind on the wide field of clean green, winter wheat, floating slowly down then almost stationary as if in a wind tunnel.

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Brent geese on winter wheat.

Back up the coast along the bumpy track, past the small statue to the three Short Brothers outside the turn to Muswell Manor, Leysdown-on-Sea is a summer holiday town of caravan parks and amusement arcades with an East End menu of jellied eels and pie, mash and liquor. At high tide, the surrounding playing fields are filled with a crowd of gulls waiting for some Sunday bread to be thrown; there are also oystercatchers and redshanks roosting in small groups, some feeding on the earthworms, all vying for space with Sunday footballers, large dogs and their dragged and dragging owners.


Oystercatchers and redshanks gather to sit out the high tide on the playing fields around Leysdown-on-Sea.


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