Posted by: Ross Gardner | November 27, 2014

Into the sun

Into the sun.  Ross Gardner 2014.

Into the sun. Ross Gardner 2014.

A setting sun over the Leigh Marshes in the Thames Estuary.  The high tide has just turned revealing the first ribbons of exposed mud along the edges of the salt-marsh.  It is on the relative higher ground of the saltings that a great many of the gathered winter shorebirds wait out the period of complete inundation.  As the tide edges back so to do they return to feed.  In dribs and drabs at first.  Perhaps a half a dozen Brent Geese loping low over the water; ten or fifteen Dunlin racing by just a overhead, with a few Knot thrown in for good measure; Curlew in ones and twos; Redshank in a near constant trickle.  The gulls of course, were already there.

Then larger groups.  Enough to hear the beating wings as they pass.  Further out along the estuary an the occasional billowing of birds in their hundreds.  Before you know it birds have gathered in their thousands on the expanding mud, quite without you noticing.

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