Gull rise on Bishop’s Ness

Published by Carol Donaldson on

High tide by Stephen Turner

The birds rose at high tide, fluttering above the island as their nests disappeared under water. There was a panic emanating from the gull colony on Bishop’s Ness which carried across the water and reached us as we stood helplessly on the island fort watching it’s demise.

I felt the panic touch me too as it would if I was watching a human tragedy unfold. I could feel the birds distress, the weeks of courting and competing for nest sites, the laying and chasing of predators. The energy expended on producing those eggs, now lost.

Later, as the tide recedes, the island reappears as if the flood had never been. Out on the saltmarsh, the ground is dandruff speckled once more. The gulls are back. The season is short, they are trying again.

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