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Country diary: sleeping spoonbills refuse to be disturbed

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Medmerry nature reserve, West Sussex: Oblivious to the noisy geese and crying curlew, these birds nap while standing balanced on one leg, their bills tucked under their wings

Clouds rise above the line of tall trees and stretch out to sea. Below my feet, a muddy channel of water runs from a sluice towards the marsh. Redshanks circle, calling “kip-kip-kip”, and two small common sandpipers – brown above and white below – bob and bow, feeding in the mud. As I walk along the path on top of the flood bank, skein after skein of Canada geese fly over my head, barking to each other, the air whooshing under their wings as they flap. The geese splash on to the pools near the beach. More and more arrive as I watch, paddling to the muddy islands, squabbling and preening. Somewhere across the marsh, I hear a curlew’s cries rising into the air.

Related: The curlew’s call haunts sands and hills

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