The Estuary

Wonders of the Estuary - Life in the Washing Machine

Imagine living in an environment made up of nothing but sand and mud. If that’s not bad enough for you, imagine the second greatest tide in the world coming along to stir you up, shifting 10 million tonnes of the sand and mud round and about you in a huge high speed spin. The water is salty, then it’s fresh, then salty again. Or its not there at all. Welcome to life in the Severn Estuary. You might not want to live here, but in fact estuaries are amongst the most productive ecosystems in the world. The constant movement of nutrients in the water provides food for filter feeders, allowing them to trawl through the swirling tide with special limbs. These then provide the rich pickings for thousands of birds, who visit every winter in a spectacular wildlife bonanza, and many of the fish which live in or visit the estuary.

Life in the swirling estuary