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The Out Marsh (Hesketh)

We stepped out along the banks
With the wind in our faces
And rain in the air
To view the wide vista
Of wetland's grey stare
And following trails
Of rising red shanks
Panicked from their marshy fare
Their frighting, flighting wails
Tee tee tee
Help me me me....

A short eared owl with brown wings speckled
Silently emerged from the brambles and nettles
Gliding low
Over ditch and brow
Creeping and sweeping
Scrub and hedgerow

And a stone chat sat
On the thistle down
Fleetingly bobbing
From fence to ground

And we watched the encroaching salt waters
Faltering and halting
The safe perches for those in the sky
Landing strips above the waterline

Troops of oystercatchers
Flat packed solid
Scarlet bills to the wind
Hunched like soldiers
Defending their last post

Waiting for the command
To take flight

But with care
For beware
Of a silent enemy

No fodder please
For a hungry raptor

See the Peregrine
Sat motionless yonder?
Posted on a cattle trough ....
In the middle of a water rough

Or a keen eyed buzzard on the fence
With surely none other than vicious intent

Hear the curlew
Its bubbling lewing  
Probing the mud
With sabre shaped bill

And the plovers too
Amidst the flock
Seeking out lugworms
And other such stock

See the flittering, twittering
Of sky larks
Racing, chasing
Across the sky
Up high, up high

And the teasing flocks
Of starlings
A murmuring of murmurings
But not yet the real thing

And pink footed geese
Flying in formation
V shaped , uniform
Sky borne , air crew
En route to pastures new

And lapwings
Wheeling and dipping
Their wings lapping
And flapping
In joyous abandon.

And the black backed gulls
In menacing manner
Muscle in -bullying those
Who don't much matter
Getting fatter and fatter.

Herons and egrets
Standing proud
Quietly fishing
The lagoon surround
And silently lifting
Their huge wings, shifting
Across the misting
Watery mains

And on the flooded plain
Ducks and geese are dabbling
Their upside down scrabbling
For this is now their terrain

And back along the way we came
But how different now the picture paints
No land to see- all gone to sea
Blanketing all the low scrub trees

And the gradual surprising
Of water and tide.

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