It was a grey morning last Monday. There was a cold breeze and I was standing once again at the end of the boat shelter wall at Lympstone and leaning on the rail. It was low water. The mud banks stretched away for a mile in front of me, a depressing sight to see. There was a dearth of birdlife.
Then I found myself watching a lone house martin. She, I had the impression she was a she, was the first martin I am conscious of seeing this spring although the birds must have been hereabouts for a few weeks. She was coming and going and landing twenty yards in front of me, collecting mud for nest building.
I had never thought of it before but estuarial mud must be a blessed convenience for house martins especially when, as now, there has been very little rain.
I imagined a conversation between two martlettes:
“The trouble these days, my dear, the mud just isn’t as wet as it used to be.”
“That's so, ma'am, everybody says so. My Martin thinks 'tis all this global warming. It makes things so difficult for first time home builders like us.”
“Well, my dear, if you’ll take my advice, don’t you even bother to go mud hunting inland. There’s plenty of wet mud out there on the Estuary, enough for everybody and for ever. 'Tis a bit salty mind, but…”