Turnstones with nowhere to land



Usually there are plenty of places around Battery Point for these little waders to rest and feed. As their name suggests they turn stones, pebbles and seaweed searching for food.


However, when the sea rises too high, landing places for the turnstones are in very short supply.  With today’s 14.6 m high tide all of the salt marsh and most of the rocks are underwater.  So the turnstones fly back and forth looking for a spot of dry land.


At first they jostle for a place on a raft of flotsam swept against the promenade wall.



But when this becomes too precarious they resort to the top of the wall and promenade with the rest of us.


The Bristol Channel turnstones are typically wary of people but today they had little choice.


Sometimes a flock of turnstones will cadge a lift on large tree trunks floating up the channel.  I heard another report of a channel navigation buoy festooned with turnstones on a similarly high tide.


While I was not very happy with the finished turnstone sketches, I learnt a lot in the process. In a detailed study the background is either non-existent or secondary. However here I was trying to depict birds in context ie within their natural habitat. So this always makes it more difficult.


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  1. Hi Hilary
    Just been catching up with your posts……all fascinating and beautifully observed as ever; particularly enjoyed the turnstones’ sketches and narrative – such busy little birds and you know them so well!

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