The now familiar walk across the flat grazing marshes from Higham Church passes a herd of ewes with a busy ram that pursues his next conquest with single-minded determination.
A flock of goldfinches sit in the boundary hawthorns and small charms fly into the acres of seeded thistles in the adjacent field. In the distance, the crows and starlings suddenly put up in frightened flocks and indicate that a raptor is coming through; then a female sparrowhawk swerves across low over the ground and attacks the goldfinch flock with a twist and turn; the birds lift in a tight formation, wheel and then return to the sanctuary of the bushes. The gravel pits are full of feral geese that keep up a constant gaggling chatter and a handful of mute, mute swans.
The footpath route passes gravel workings and flooded pits on the edge of the RSPB reserve at Cliffe. At the sea wall, ponies graze the no man’s land and pipits and linnets work the saltmarshes along the edge of the estuary and also the brackish marsh that has developed between the new and old sea walls. The views are wide and, as the tide rises, a succession of boats of all sizes heads out of the estuary, leaving a a clutch of abandoned cruise ships moored at Tilbury.