Wednesday 28 August 2013

Long shore walk

 I have been washing and sorting out my bag of finds from a lovely long walk on the shore. I said before we left home that it was going to be a walk, not a collecting walk and I didn't even take a bag.  It was a heavy sky full of grey and darker grey clouds, it looked like rain but we often have  such a sky when the tide is coming in.  It was quite a high tide and the gullies were all filling up with sea water and it was going to be an energetic walk.  Energetic as you have to jump across the gullies and water filled pools which cover this flat marshy shore, definitely a chance of wet feet and muddy parts.
We packed a sandwich and fruit and snacks and plenty of drinks.  Not really a picnic but I need to refuel on  such a long walk.  It was actually very warm and the breeze from the incoming sea was welcome on my face.  So off we go jumping over water, often smelling pungent green or brown filled pools of stagnant water.  There was, as always, all manner of washed up objects, some remains of a kill  looking unpleasant, sadly with  feathers, the wings and  carcase of one or more decaying birds.  A skull and selection of white bones from an animal fill a hole,  now all that remains of a drowned sheep.  The tide line and the fences gather a huge tangle of all that the sea washes up on to our shores.  I see  feathers, seaweed, bottles, ropes, crab shells, balloons from celebrations final resting place,  plastic objects,  ragged pieces of lost clothing, odd shoes and  plastic wrappers and toys and balls from humans at other places, all washing up here on our shore. As they cling to the wire fences so do the  young black and white calves, all tagged and numbered,  clambering to the fence to take a better look at us.  Behind them about twenty geese sat in the field, it seemed a strange combination.
The geese did not like the visitors and with much wing flapping and even more shouting  and shrieking took flight.  I usually hear this calling through my bedroom window in the morning and suddenly realised just how loud it is.  The photographer quickly captured some of the birds in flight.  All their heads facing the same way, so beautiful to be this close and watch them flying.
Little tiny tiny ladybirds resting on pieces of dirt on the ground, we counted thirty and kept seeing them along the way.  As I have barely seen one this year I was intrigued to see them, but really needed my glasses to have a better look.  A piece of grey coloured holly was home to one,  I picked it up but the breeze blew it from the holly.  I have the image in my head,  thorns wrapping around this miniature orange baby like a cradle.
The erosion of the land is quite shocking to see. years ago we would have walked straight across this sandy area as it was part of the grassy shore. Huge chunks of the banking have collapsed and  wider gullies are forming as the sea pours in and the damage will only get worse as another Winter takes its toll.

As we reached near to the stone outcrop the water had also crept up and reached up to this little island and had left a tide line shattered with feathers and leaves and seaweed and grasses.  I saw a lovely feather, I had to pick it up, then another and too late now to collecting had begun.  I felt that, ooh feeling,  a pull to so many objects and I was thrilled to find the blackened sycamore seeds with the contrasting green.  I know I don't need to collect another feather ever,  but I felt such an attraction to seeing such beautiful and interesting things, blue and white shells, skeleton sycamores, amazing brown and white striped feathers and black and white patterned pointed feathers and some orangey red berries.   They are all similar to others I have found in the past but I listen to how excited I feel when I find such objects and feel so inspired by them.  I loved the spotty leaf, everything I collected was chosen from the hundreds of others washed up and  begging me to take them home.
Food tastes so good after a long walk,  sitting in the fresh air listening to nothing only the sound of waves and bird calls and the sun joined us for lunch. It was a chance to take in the views, looking backwards to home  and feeling nearer to the hills as they seem so much bigger here.  I wandered along the edge of the grassy banks and along the stone outcrop looking at what was trapped between the stones, more feathers but also a thick bubbly brown foam everywhere.  Quick look !  A blue dragonfly flew passed us. It was not so surprising as we are  close to the peat marsh,  home to many beautiful butterfly, moths and dragonfly.
work in progress
 The walk home was through the marshes, a long thin strip of road, it is wild and mostly untouched, the board walk is where we often venture to see the dragonflies.  Blackberries are ripening,  red Rowan berries brighten up the hedges,  tall bull rushes grow from the ditches at the side of the road.  Perhaps the only thing I dislike here is the thought of a snake, having been told that a friend had encountered an adder the  other day.  There was still high cow parsley and tall pink spikes of wild flowers that flourish here.  A kestrel hovers above and the cool shade was welcome as the afternoon heat was making me feel tired.  Butterflies flit from plants and dance in the sunshine.  The brown patterned  fritillary butterflies match the colour of my snack of ginger oat biscuits which I take from my pocket to enjoy.  Every so often a huge dragonfly would dive across our path, yellow and blue flashes of these  mesmerising creatures.
The ditches have been cleaned out  and wild flowers cut back in preparation for winter, earthy smells of peat and moss and green stagnant water, but all looks tidy and organised.   A rest as we lean over the gate and glimpse into the wood under the shade of  the huge old Oak tree.  Can you see the Rowan berries in the hedgerow?
 Still a walk across the marsh,  through lanes to reach the roads.  My house looks a long way off,  the sun is hot and so are my feet.  Thank goodness I have plenty of water to drink.   As we reach home the view is lovely,  in the distance is the little island and I can trace my journey and see where I have been,  no wonder I am feeling a little weary.
The tide coming into the estuary
Later I washed and sorted my finds and this is how they looked.  The feathers are beautiful,  my drawing of the striped feathers was done for my folder of cards in 2009.  I never tire of finding and drawing the lovely natural objects I am lucky enough to have here in this amazing estuary and countryside.
I chose the sycamore,  spotted leaf,  feathers and the red berries for my drawing.
my finished drawing
It is on an A4 sheet of cartridge paper and I used acrylic inks with a fine paintbrush and a dip in pen.

A lovely evening to end the day.  Hope you are all enjoying your Summer days.
Thank you for the lovely comments which I always enjoy reading.  Hope you enjoy my walk .
 See you soon  Millyx

thank you to my husband for all the outdoor photographs x very much appreciated xxx