The transition from mud flat to salt marsh, beach and land
Aberlady: salt marsh
Significance: an extending area of salt marsh at the mouth of the Peffer Burn
Glasswort (Salicornia) colonising the mudflats of the low salt marsh
The tidal flats and salt marshes at Aberlady Bay form a rich habitat for wading birds. These gently-inclined surfaces invite the rising tide to push in and cover the fringe of the land, leaving trash lines at each high tide.
Slight risers on the mud flats carry patches of moss-like green seaweeds. The first terrestrial coloniser is glasswort, initially forming scattered individual plants that later merge to a sward. The higher parts of the salt marsh are dominated by grasses, Common Saltmarsh Grass (Puccinellia maritima) and Red Fescue (Festuca rubra subsp. litoralis) are important. Here the salt marsh has a system of creeks to return the tide water to the sea. Salt pans trap some of this brackish, muddy water. The highest drier marsh areas inter-finger with with wet grasslands and due slacks. Only the spring tides reach here.