Medway mud

The view from the old quay on Otterham Creek looks north toward the Hoo Peninsula and the heavy industry that edges the east end. The creek empties at low tide leaving a single spine of water between wide mudflats deeply incised by snaking tributaries; teal fly in to forage at the water’s edge and redshank walk and shelduck shuffle across the wet mud. Black headed gulls gather in a flock waiting for high tide and the water pumped from the sewage treatment works opposite.

A handful of avocets feed in the shallow water and, at high tide, a flock of 300 gathers to roost on a spit of land further out; black-tailed godwits, lapwings and curlews are also regular. There are also a half dozen greenshanks and until recently a single spotted redshank.

At low tide, a single peregrine hurls down the creek to stoop at the waders and waterfowl; on another occasion a pair circle low looking for a target; at such times everything flies to the narrow stream of water to sit tight and there is much wheeling chaos; the empty sky is briefly filled like a shaken snowstorm. The local kestrel never causes a stir as it pitches and hovers along the sea wall.

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