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…

Shellness

The tide is running in fast and the crowd of oystercatchers in the bay walks up the beach like an invading army in black and white tunics. Then the bulk of the birds flies to the shelving bank of cockle and osyter shells on the spit to sit out the high tide like a well-drilled…

East is East…Shellness and Sheerness

From the sea wall on the Isle of Grain, the Port of Sheerness is an unbroken strip of trade and industry between the gun metal Medway and the brilliant blue sky. The Grain Tower, once the principal defence for the Medway ports, squats in the shallow estuary like an old, broken barrel. The high tide takes it…

Early Winter Snows

The  wind drives the Swale into a muddy broth. Small flocks of Brent geese career down the coast on the wind and then turn and hang before alighting on the barren shore. Oystercatchers flock on the tideline with curlews, redshanks, grey plovers and a handful of turnstones. There has been a recent passage of scoters and…

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…