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Salt Marsh Summer

Salt Marsh Summer

The Salt Marsh Summer is a time of new life when wildlife raises the next generation.  Shelduck and other wildfowl are rearing their chicks. Roe deer introduce their kids to the salt marsh and skylarks nest. It is all about new life.

Salt marsh summer

There is way too much wildlife to mention it all. So this is just a snapshot of summer life . . .

Summer Plants

The salt marsh summer does not boast the opulence of a flower meadow. Nevertheless the bees and butterflies still love it and come to pollinate these modest flowers.

This is the growing season and the plants are using the airborne and seaborne carbon dioxide. They deposit the carbon into the sediment and release the oxygen back into the air.  This is good for them, good for us and good for the climate. So please don’t walk on them as we need them. See more about salt marsh plants and carbon here.

The plants here are also extremely nutritious. So a valuable food source for many creatures from roe deer to Canada Geese to name but a few.

Summer salt marsh birds

Salt Marsh Summer - skylark chicksHave you ever heard skylarks singing high above the salt marsh? They are marking their territories. Skylarks nest on the ground but you won’t see them. They are hard enough to spot when singing their hearts out above the marsh. They are nearly impossible to spot on the ground. So there is a real possibility of trampling their nests, eggs and chicks. So you can protect these threatened birds by keeping off the marsh.

See more about our skylarks on our dedicated skylark page.

Salt Marsh Summer - Canada Goose goslingsThere are many other birds which, while they don’t nest on the marsh, will bring their fledglings here. These include geese, ducklings and starlings.  Other birds treat the marsh as a “take away”, picking up insect to take back to their chicks. It is an important food source for the birds which nest in the hedgerows on the nature reserve, as well as the swifts, swallows and house martins.

Summer salt marsh MAMMALS

Roe deer are the largest mammal that regularly visit Portbury Wharf salt marsh. Others include field voles, shrews and the occasional fox.

These photos of a roe doe with triplets were taken at the back end of summer at Portbury Wharf salt marsh. See how high the vegetation is behind them. When they are in the thick of it they are hard to spot and almost impossible to see when laid down. At this age they are prone to attack from foxes and even dogs and would have trouble outrunning an attacker.

Salt Marsh Summer a time of new life

Summer salt marsh sea life

When the tide covers the marsh it is the time for fish, crabs and other sea creatures to take over.

Of course we don’t get to see what they are up to. Though occasionally you see a live crab on the salt marsh as pictured on the left.

Usually the only evidence that they have been here are the shells left by moulting crabs.

While our skeletons are on the inside the crab’s is on the outside. It is known as an exoskeleton or carapace. So in order to grow larger the crab has to wriggle out of its old skeleton and grow a larger one. It will do this many times. All that is left behind is the sun bleached shell.


Go to salt marsh hub for lots more information