Feeding on the falling tide

On the Medway at Otterham Creek, a handful of the black- headed gulls are beginning to get their dark chocolate brown heads while the majority remain fixed in winter plumage. The gulls sit in roosts and some paddle across the bare mud; they never seem to have to work too hard for their food. The 300 black-tailed godwits, dozen or so redshanks and handful of curlews feed with great intensity on the falling tide; it seems this period when their prey is freshly exposed is one of the best times to fill up. There are also a couple of pairs of oystercatcher which also forage but intermittently call loudly as they perform their bowing display to each other. In the distance, the large avocet flock, numbering around 450, streams from its high tide roost to feed in the narrow channel; a few stragglers seem to meander down the creek and mix with the other waders.

Published by Steve Parr

Professional ecologist and amateur photographer. Love to travel and explore.

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