Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
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Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Stour Estuary

So last Wednesday I took a fairly long drive to the Stour Estuary. Somewhere I’d never been before, and it had the promise of waders. That mystical set of birds I have trouble putting names to.

I set of early, under a starless sky. Yea, it was a dull, cloudy start, which didn’t improve as the daylight pushed the darkness aside. Not to worry. I was out, and going somewhere new.

Welcome to Stour Estuary, it says. Thank you. What I didn’t know though, was just how much walking I’d have to do to get to the water. The little red blob bottom left on the edge of the woods is the car park. A walk through the woods, (up hill and down hill), for about 2 miles takes you to the bigger red box near the top, where this sign board was; and another, proudly announcing ‘2 miles to bird hides’.

More up hill, down hill, up steps, down steps…………….hmmmmmm.

I reached the first hide just a little out of breath, so was glad of the sit down. I gazed out the window, and could just make out the sea in the distance. And tiny specks out in that sea I presumed to be waders. A scope would have been ideal. The Hubble telescope better.

I sat for a while anyway, scanning the saltmarsh in front of me for signs of life. None that I could see. I walked along to the next hide, telling myself, ‘there’s no point Keith, it’ll be just the same.’

Sometimes I should listen to myself. It was just the same.

I did manage one picture out here in the wilderness though.

A Long Tailed Tit took pity on me, and stopped briefly while I took his picture, before he left to join the rest of his gang.

I left too, and made my way slowly back to the signboard. There was a viewing screen down a slope that overlooked the estuary. Maybe I’d see more there.

As I got nearer, I could hear waves. The tide was coming in. I quickened my pace, as best I could. I didn’t want to get there and find nothing but seawater.

And there before me, was sand and water. And birds!

A Curlew, probing the muddy sand. Yea, not the best shots, but I’d come so far to get these, I’m gonna post ‘em anyway.

Two Brent Geese flying away. Yea, yea; not brilliant, but……..

And a bonus. Three for the price of one. At the top, a Curlew, bottom left, a Redshank, and bottom right, an Oystercatcher.

I spent a while there, taking some not very good pictures, and breathing in the sea air, and then made my way back through the woods to the car. Would I go again?

Yea. With a telescope though.


  1. LOL! Oh Keith, I'm sorry they were hard to see - but you went someplace new! And that's good for your soul. :)

    Next time it will be sunny and the birds will flock to you and your camera...or your telescope. :)


  2. Keith, that's life, go another day and you will be falling over birds. look up high water on the web and arrange to get there just after.
    Still managed shots I would be pleased with.

  3. Sounds a bit like a trip I made several weeks ago, Salt Creek Wildlife management area. I heard there were many Bald Eagles there so I went. There are no trees there at all, lots of marsh area and a group of people near the parking lot. I walked over to see what they were doing and each had a spotting scope. They were watching eagles - small dots in their spotting scopes. They were all very excited! Disapointed, I left and searched the country side for old trucks dumped and rusting near the fields. It was still a great day though.

  4. Hi Keith,
    At least it looks like an interesting are but maybe yes you need to disgiscop or crawl in the sandy beach ;-) Anyway, these shots are still nice. It is also sometime nice not to get a portrait but a whole environment picture.

  5. Thanks Jen. Yea, just getting out is enjoyment enough at times. I still had a good time. :)

    Adrian I didn’t think about tides that morning. I’m such a muppet at times lol

    Thanks Dale. I can relate to that lol
    If at first our ‘target’ isn’t there, we can always find something of interest if we look. The beauty of nature; she always has something up her sleeve.

    Cheers Chris. Yea, it’s certainly a good place to go. Even the woods have great potential when the spring migrants arrive. Agree with your last statement too. I think we sometimes try too hard to get a close up, when stepping back a bit would make a much better picture.
    I'm guilty of that sometimes.

  6. Well it was a good tester of the old body Keith which got you there and back OK and a great LT Tit shot.

  7. LOL ...never fails..all the good stuff at the beginning..again..the end...I can so relate! The whole first week I had my new telephoto lens...I could not find even a sparrow..not a single bird!! Beautiful shots hon..I love shore birds!!
    So glad you are out and about and enjoying the birds...I have gotten a few fun shots with my new telephoto lens...someday I will get some as good as yours. Hugs to you, Sarah

  8. Good to see you are doing well Keith, Nice Images I like the Long Tailed Tit

  9. Lovely, thanks for sharing..

  10. Keith your trip sounds like everyday for me at present, so your not alone. We all have good and bad days. I will be off somewhere new on Thursday, hopefully with better luck. Don't think I would carry a telescope that far though!!!!

  11. Well done Keith. A just reward as was my Grey Wagtail today. The big birding chief does not like to see us leave empty handed.

  12. Oh well Keith, at least it was a change of scenery and you did see some birds.

  13. All I can say to you is, at least you got some good exercise:-)

  14. Thanks Roy. Yea, it was good exercise if nothing else. :)

    Thanks Sarah. There were plenty of shorebirds there; I just couldn’t see ‘em lol
    Glad you’re getting some good shots with your new lens

    Keith, thank you. Getting better every day :)

    Cheers Bob. Some days nothing seems to come together till the last minute.

    Gemel, thank you for stopping by.

    Thanks Trevor. Good to know someone up there has an eye on us lol

    John, I had a good time despite not getting any decent shots. Like you say, a good change of scenery. :)

    Thanks Linda. Exercise a plenty lol

  15. Good to learn that the legs stood up to all that exertion and then the bonus of a few waders at the end. FAB.

  16. A good days excercise and a few birds thrown in. Perfect Frank.

  17. At least you did see some waders Keith but it did sound like a bit of a slog, if you do go again you will know what to expect. I bet you knew you had done it the next day though!

    Good to see some waders and the LTT posed prettily.

  18. Thanks Jan. I had no idea just how much walking was involved to get to the water; quite a trek lol
    I'm glad I went though.

  19. You have had a good training for your heart?! If you visit this place again, you will have more luck with the birds. Greetings from Luzia.

  20. It was like a hard session at a gym Luzia; but much better :)

  21. I keep hoping I will see a curlew one day!! You captured some great birds on this trip

  22. Thanks Dixxe. It certainly looked to have great potential, at the right time.