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  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

A visual essay: Lapwings around the Toll Bridge, Adur Estuary, Shoreham.

Updated: Dec 24, 2020

These photographs of Lapwings (and a few Herring Gulls, Black-headed Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls, Crows and Redshanks) are punctuated with photographs of landscapes and natural objects. They record my subjective impressions of avifauna and landscape of the estuary between 11.30 and 16.00 on Wednesday 23rd December 2020. There are 39 photos in this essay; there are no words, save these and the brief notes after the photos outlining the context of this visual essay.

Update: I have just heard that my area is in tier 4 from Boxing Day; so I won't be able to travel to Shoreham for a few weeks or months. I shall be looking at these photos a lot; to savour this happy day.


At 11.30 there were sunny skies, with some clouds. Rain showers then followed, some heavy; then the rain cleared at dusk.

The focus of my attention was the Lapwings; the other birds I photographed coincidentally as I found them. My purpose was to record my lived experience of the lapwings and their estuary habitat today. These photos are not a scientific survey of abundance and diversity of avifauna of the estuary, they are merely what attracted my attention.

I took 417 photographs in all, with a Nikon COOLPIX P950 bridge camera (with an integral 83x optical zoom Lens - 24-2000mm). None of the photographs have been filtered or cropped

On the A27 road bridge just north of the Toll Bridge over the River Adur there was major traffic incident today, which many emergency vehicles attended. The sirens of the emergency vehicles disturbed the flock of Lapwings repeatedly, resulting in them flying up, circling, and landing again on the mud island north of the Toll Bridge frequently.

The flock of ca. 50 Lapwings remained in the estuary all the time I was there. At about 14.30 they relocated rom their "base" on the mud island just north of the Toll Bridge to the section of the west bank where the water outflow is being built, south of the Toll Bridge. The new water outflow is being built to service the land where the new IKEA is being built.

Lapwing populations have declined dramatically over the last 40 years; mostly as a result of farming and developments that have reduced the Lapwings' habitats.



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