I spent this morning at the edge of the Exe Estuary, watching waders with a group led by the naturalist, Matt Collis http://www.devonwildlifetours.co.uk/. An estuary, and all the life within it and along it, is dominated by the tides. It is a place of constantly shifting “betweens” that are easy to observe and appreciate. There is so much going on, yet being at the edge here can bring a sense of inner peace along with moments of intense beauty.
The tide turned two hours ago.
Curlews and godwits that have been resting on one leg,
their bills tucked neatly under their wings,
underbellies reflected in the smooth mirror of this backwater,
begin to wake and shake their feathers,
getting ready to fly downstream.
Later, I stand on a wooden platform
above the reedbed
watching elegant white egrets
slowly wading in gradually receding water.
To the east the sun is high now.
Suddenly, all I can see in front of me
are the dark silhouettes of redshanks
dancing across bright glittering sand,
their wet feet coated in silver.