Migration postponed


Brent geese, unlike sailing boats, don’t like it up ’em. The gales currently hammering the Solent and Thames Estuary appear to be keeping the suspicious fowl on UK mud. They should have flown home to Siberia by now, but even though it would be a tail wind, a gale would clearly ruffle the feathers.

Several score of the birds were pecking the mud for worms as the tide made and I moved my 12ft sailing dinghy up under the protective arm of the marsh on Sunday, before the gales hit the Thames Estuary.

Last weekend she capsized in an earlier gale on her regular mooring which is more exposed and I lost the locker lid and a set of oars. Buying a new pair this weekend the chandler told me how the 1987 tempest had left the windows of his sea-front shop completely covered in sand. ‘It was as though they’d been wall-papered with sand paper,’ he said, the salt spray had wetted them and then the sand had stuck on top of the film of water then dried.