Saturday, 12 September 2009

Waders & Warships

Here are the final Wader photographs, all taken in the States. I love 'birding' over there, but be advised if your looking at any of these little darlings, should you ask a local "what's that small Wader over there", the almost guaranteed reply will be, "we don't do PEEPs !!" It maybe of interest that the middle 3 were all seen in the same almost frozen pool, in company with 3 Red-necked Stint.

Semipalmated Sandpiper - Newport Harbour, Oregon, USA

Least Sandpiper - Barrow, Alaska, USA

Baird's Sandpiper - Ditto

Western Sandpiper - Ditto

White-rumped Sandpiper - East Falkland Island

Saturday's are always looked forward to as a carte blanche bus pass day. No default until 09-30, as in the week, so 06-35 and I was heading for Portland. As we stopped at Foord's Corner, to pick up the only other passenger, I noted a Capital Ship 'swinging to her pick' in Portland Harbour. Unusual enough to see a 'war canoe' here these days, there was a second, a Frigate of sorts and a third by way of a Logistics Ship already leaving harbour via the East Ship Channel. Barleycrates produced a Grasshopper Warbler plus half a dozen Wheatear while a continuous stream of Hirundines , mostly Swallows flew south along the East Cliff. Walking the southern perimeter fence of the business park, yet another warship hove into view certainly maintaining 15 knots as she passed between the mainland and the Shambles Bank. This monster was familiar to me as a mate of mine had been the Jimmy (1st Lieutenant) on her first commission from new. HMS Ocean, with dimentions of, Displacement: 21,578 tons Length: 683ft 3in, Beam: 112ft 10in, Draught: 21ft 8in, is currently the Royal Navy's largest warship, and looked an impressive sight as she steamed past the Portland Bird Observatory. Not big by comparison to our cousins across the pond, but in many ways size is of little consequence here. Back in the 60's, while in HMS Eskimo on Biera Patrol (Mozambique Channel), our flag ship HMS Ark Royal was said to have received an early morning signal from a passing US flotila, "good morning and how's the second biggest navy in the world today?", the Admiral aboard replied in super quick time, "good morning to you sir, we're very well, and how's the second best?". Walking towards Culverwell a Common Snipe put up from a nearby field, 'called' and alighted again, and along with an undetermined count of Siskin and a single Yellow Wagtail that was all of note seen. I was informed at the Obs that the other Capital ship was HMS Bulwark.

HMS Ocean passing Portland Bird Observatory