Heybridge Basin

16th July 2019 A warm July evening with a light breeze is made for a pint at the Old Ship overlooking the great expanse of water and mud that is the Blackwater Estuary. The pub sits at the of a pretty terrace of small fishermen’s houses and overlooks the sea lock that, at low tide,…

Beachcombers and fish hawkers

The beach is wind blown under a grey sky. Usually it is empty, but the season brings an assortment of wheatears, little egrets, yellow wagtails and common sandpipers; all are foraging after a day of torrential rain. Two fishermen at the water’s edge sit, hunched like herons, over long rods. The harbour wall at Agios…

Autumn Arrivals at Bough Beech

The woodland-fringed wetland north of the causeway is drained down by the end of the long dry summer and migrating waders feed in the shallows.  Green sandpipers are expected, a wayward black-tailed godwit less so.  The best is a grey phalarope, which is in winter plumage with elegant steel-grey feathers that appear at a distance…

Winter windfalls

Adrift in the North Downs, the small village of Eastling sleeps in the early morning sun. The great yews bury much of the churchyard in deep-frozen shade. A goldcrest briefly emerges from the dense needles in its hunt for tiny prey. Goldfinches sing their light, liquid trickle from high, hidden places. A chaffinch bursts into its plain, spring song but…

Winter Sun

Oare Marshes, North Kent, December 14th 2016 The sun shines low in the sky and the few high clouds pay scant attention to the stretched blue canvas. The wind warms from the south, and the drying day is a break from the blanket of brooding drizzle. The familiar view of church and brewery in distant Faversham sits…

Cold Harty and the Swale

The winding lane to Harty Ferry passes through Capel Fleet where a distant herd of great, brown bulls deter most away from the footpath that runs from the road across a flat landscape towards the distant Swale Estuary. The raised path is a stumble, being water-logged and pot-holed by heavy hooves; it arcs endlessly round a wide expanse of huge,…

Yas Island – A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Muddy Mangroves

Yas Island is one of the many great infrastructure projects in the United Arab Emirates, located close to Abu Dhabi airport and 10 miles down the highway from the city. In 2012, it already had a Formula 1 racing circuit, a huge red panini of a building called Ferrari World, hotels, marina and golf course and…

Bough Beech Reservoir’s Autumn Colours

The day is bright; clouds build in thick lines from the southwest and a fresh breeze blows over the bright water but these never quite overcome the warming autumn sun. Bough Beech Reservoir is observed from the low causeway with its gently shelving banks of concrete, softened over the decades by a spreading, soft carpet…

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…