Spoonbills and sandwiches

August 30th At Shellness, the flocks of waders and waterfowl are enjoying the easy pace of the balmy summer.   Swallows move along the beach in small flocks; a wheatear forages on the shingle. There is a late summer silence at high tide mainly because the Brent geese have not arrived. Sandwich terns are roosting…

The unstoppable sea

On Saturday, the day is warm with a southerly breeze and the oystercatchers gather on their familiar stretch of shoreline at the far end of the ness of shells that gives the place its name. Another spit near the blockhouse is filled with a tight knit flock of grey plover, dunlin and knot. On the…

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…

Shellness and Leysdown-on-Sea

The wind tears the waters of the Swale into waves. The grey plovers do not linger on the drowning groynes.  The high tide roost of oystercatchers and others shelter on the tip of the shell beach. High tide roost mainly of oystercatchers on the ness. A male hen harrier twists over the wide saltmarsh carried…