Waltham Brooks, West Sussex Around the pool’s edges, snipe drill into the mud as the sun sinks towards the horizon

The air is noticeably colder, and the blue sky above the Brooks seems empty. The swallows and martins that had been following the river Arun south to the sea, in an almost continuous stream for the past month, have gone. Only jackdaws and rooks fly over, croaking to each other, heading towards the woods and back to their evening roosts. The sinking sun casts a warm glow across the large pool, where recent arrivals – a flock of wigeon – are paddling, dipping into the muddy water to feed alongside the regular mallard and shoveller.

Around the pool’s edges, snipe bob their dark brown-striped heads up and down, drilling their long bills into the mud in hurried sewing-machine movements. More snipe sit by the reeds, preening or sleeping, their heads turned and their bills tucked into the feathers on their backs. I walk on through the wet grass, listening to the cries of the coot, water rail and ducks, and watch my footing.

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Source: Guardian Environment