You know that feeling of panic when you realise your feet are going to be caught by a wave and you’re not going to be able to get away in time? That feeling of the inevitability of sea in your shoes? The blind panic as you splash water over yourself as you plish and plash up the beach in a vain attempt to avoid soggy trousers?
Welcome to the life of the Sanderling.
Their lives are one long mealtime on the beaches, punctuated by epic journeys. A bit like me, here, in Orkney, having a picnic with my never-ending supply of locally baked rolls with locally made cheese and locally grown tomatoes.
They’ve flown from their high Arctic breeding grounds to be with us.
I’m lying belly-down on the wet sand as they fly and run up and down the breaking-wave line.
Small waves look like a towering tsunami compared to them:
And no matter how fast they run, there’s always one running faster:
There’s a delicate morsel somewhere in the sand:
I like this shot with a big bubble in the foam:
Then I get a dose of the Sanderling’s medicine as I get wet by a wave. I’d better go home and dry my trousers out.