Blackwater tides

On a bright day the high tide has flooded the saltmarshes, the wind is quiet and the waterbirds wait for the water to drop; a black-headed gull finds the tip of a rock and claims it, waits and then finally drops on to the exposed causeway to Northey Island. Turnstones arrive and work the seaweed-covered…

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…

Blackwater dawn

The dawn appears slowly in the still air turning the horizon from deepest blue to dirty magenta, then split by a thin slice of electric orange. The black saltmarsh emerges olive green; the water in the narrow channels and open estuary is lit like smoked glass, catching every reflection.  The sun rises and briefly turns…

Cliffe Marshes

The north easterly blows hard across the water of the flooded clay pit and whips the waves into a choppy mess. The sun is surprisingly warm out of the wind and insects work the few flowers, all of them yellow; including bristly ox-tongue that swamps every patch of waste ground and yellow-wort that peppers the…

Oare Flightlines

The large pool known as the East Flood abuts the narrow lane to the old ferry to Harty. The waders and wildfowl within the nature reserve feed in the shallows at the water’s edge, nearly all immune to passing cars and a slow steam of walkers, some with dogs and others with binoculars and telescopes. A…

Oare Marshes on the Ebb Tide

The roosting flocks of black-tailed godwits and avocets are in their allotted places within the shallow mere as they were a few days ago. Then, they roosted quietly after gathering on the flood tide. Today, they are wing stretching, washing, preening, flying and flapping vigorously just over the water to dry their feathers; their twitchy movements unsettle; their babble…