Wind, waves and wetlands: sounds

Saturday morning I jumped onto the tarmac ribbon that winds across Essex and on towards the Suffolk coast, a desire to breathe salty air and escape civilisation for an afternoon pushing me onward. After the two hour drive and  a quick exploration of Westerton Heath where a broken sun played on the heather and tree tops licked by autumn colours shone across the burnt sienna heathland, I meandered down through ancient woodlands to the RSPB visitor centre and set out for the coast.
A stiffening wind sent reeds and leaves a-rustle, bough and stalk bending and gyrating to the wind’s power before my view opened out and the coastal landscape expanded in front of me. Vast areas of reed-bed swayed and swirled, the reed-tips catching the sun with myriad highlights as I looked south to the dome of Sizewell B. 
Marching on I reached the edge of the land and slipped down onto the shingle beach to find a sheltered spot to sit and take in the scene.
The first recording is from the top of the beach, the sound of the wind dominating the crashing of the waves a few metres from my vantage point.


Moving closer to the water I approached the foam line, foot high breakers crashing onto the shingle a yard or two off-shore, the wind blown rolling arc of each wave moving from right to left, south to north, inexorably shifting stone and pebble up the coast.

With headphones on I was lost in the acoustics, marvelling at how the lowering of the microphone close to the beach changed the sound I was hearing dramatically, the water reverberating through the shingle – an explosion that repeated with each interweaving, sucking wave that fell onto the land, each one taking me further and further away from the working week just passed. Invigorated I walked on along the shingle bar, onto the military coastal defences that were part of Minsmere’s birth and back inland towards the hides, the reeds and the woods and eventually my journey home.

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