November salt marsh

By the start of November the salt marsh is losing its colourful autumn attire and taking on a browner more wintery feel but there is still a hint of that sumptuous, darkly rich, wine red on the stems of sea aster accentuated by the intermingled drifts of bleach blonde grass.

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Whilst the flora may be preparing for winter the wildlife of the salt marsh is starting to come alive with the arrival of the first of hundreds of migrating birds.  These in turn attract the resident predators like this sparrow hawk chasing flocks of recently arrived dunlin at the marsh edge.

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Redshank can be seen all year on the salt marsh but their numbers increase at this time of year.  This morning I arrived at the marsh before dawn, far too dark to see any wildlife but I was welcomed by a wonderful chorus from a flock of redshank just beyond Portishead lock gates.

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. . . whilst here a flock of redshank to-ed and fro-ed by the pier.

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It is always exciting to see snipe – here a snipe flushed from the marsh flew past the middle buoy . . .  in this little sketch I love the texture of oil pastels on top of watercolours.

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The roe deer seem to be finding the marsh increasingly popular. Once upon a time it was a rarity to see the deer during the daylight hours but now I see them regularly. By November they have traded in their glossy russet summer coats for a browner/greyer livery.

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A busy morning for a tug giving the shipping a helpful nudge into Royal Portbury Dock while a roe buck browses amongst the sea aster.

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In early November there are still some greens to be seen – as here on top of Denny Island.

More November sketches to come . . . .

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