Moving with the Tide

At dawn, the tide is out and the birds are dispersed across the wide mudflats that stretch north from Shellness past Leysdown-on-Sea to Warden Point. This is some 5 square kilometres of sands filled with worms and molluscs. There are perhaps a 1,000 birds out there; mostly black-headed gulls, oystercatchers and black-tailed godwits with smaller…

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…

The Walls

The Stour Estuary is a long straight body of water barely contained in the low hills of the Essex and Suffolk border; the land appears to be gently sinking into the sea. There is a scattering of moored yachts in the centre of the inner estuary; dinghies or perhaps canoes are crudely sheeted and bound…

Blackwater Estuary on a Spring Tide

The view from the sea wall opposite Northey Island is wide and for the most part wild. The incoming water quickly covers the narrow road to leave flooded fence lines, bright yellow warning markers, and half-submerged telegraph poles; the last popular with resting gulls and oystercatchers. On a rising Spring tide, the estuary is a…

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…