We have made the longish walk from the car park
on the decking through the marsh marigolds.
Before us is a teeming shallow lagoon.
Beyond are mixed woods, pastoral farmland
and a white house on the ridge of what was
the coast of the estuary before
the river silted and the marsh grew.
Behind the hide is a railway embankment –
the thrum of the odd diesel from Neston
to Wrexham and back baffled by the noise
of the cacophonous colony
of black headed gulls nesting on a islet.
Unaided we spotted those – and a shelduck
with its fancy red stripe and two shovellers
with their iridescent heads but are helped
with avocet, black tailed godwits and ruff.
We are the OCD species. Each member
of this ‘parlement of foules’ has at least
two names and a full biography
in many languages. How self-absorbed
they are! A solitary, silent coot
seems oblivious of the flock of gulls.
Here are serious folk with serious gear –
some of it camouflaged – who speak in subdued
encyclopaedic tones: strangers, kindly
in this companionable wooden hut –
which is a testament to human
vision, diligence and engineering –
unafraid to talk to strangers in this
always now fearful, riven land with its
taxonomies of hate.