Snettisham 9th October 2017.  A few times each year the highest tides in the Wash coincide with dawn to create a great avian spectacle.  The rising water creeps inexorably over the estuarine flats, sweeping before it the feeding waders, ducks and geese.  Brown mud banks shrink and turn black and grey: through binoculars the black banks are packed masses of oystercatchers, the smudges of grey a great shifting gathering of knot.  Waders pipe and trill restlessly; geese fly over in honking clamouring skeins.  Parties of oystercatchers rise and fly calling to roost around the lagoons.  Distant clouds slowly resolve into great flocks of knot and dunlin, wheeling and turning, one moment the merest smudge the next a black arabesque.  They pass with a whirr of wings and soar up to speckle the sky with tiny crosses.  An hour later a barely ruffled sea covers the mud and the shape shifting of land and birds comes to a close until the tidal cycle is repeated.

Photo: Snettisham, Norfolk, October 2017

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