Sprats

The mackerel will chase the sprats in on a falling tide. If the weather is calm you may see them boiling the water just off the rocks at the bottom of the garden, an unusual ruffling of the otherwise smooth surface and the occasional glimpse of a mackerels fin or tail caught for a second in the light.

As the tide goes down it creates small bays amongst the rocks and seaweed and there one day the sprats were driven in out of the deeper waters and became trapped amongst the dense tight floating brown of the seaweed that divides off the bay. A group of fifty or so seagulls gathered for the feast.  Some stalked the rocks, heads darting down through the weeds, coming up with a small silver fish a couple of inches long which disappeared before they went looking for more. Two Great Black-backed gulls strutted imperiously bullying the other smaller birds aside to get top picking, the rest mostly herring and common gulls. Half a dozen terns flitted through the air, dropping their wings and diving into the water and then up again in a flurry of white and water, up into the air to swallow their catch and then back down until another opportunity was spotted and then in and up again. They were there for almost two hours as the tide went down, the water for the sprats diminished and in their panic the few survivors could be seen jumping out of the water only to be snatched away until the water had gone with the sprats and the black weed hung wet and heavy against the rocks.

The gulls took their leave noisily pulling away back to Owen Island calling complaint to each other onwards again looking for more food.

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