The Garden Diary 2009
June Holiday (part 2)
9 June - A better day for me, not least because I was able to get my first photographs of the Choughs.
The family had actually moved from their nesting cave to another small cave just along the cliff a bit - an awkward spot and I was only able to get a few shots, but it was a start.
We also got to Porthallow before the end of the day. Conditions were certainly not as rough as this picture suggests!
Despite that, I had already made the decision that going out on my kayak was not going to be a good idea after the way I've felt over the last few days - shame....
At some point I must spend more time photographing the plants that occur along the rocks either side of the bay, especially the lichen.
In this picture it is the scraggly Sea Ivory (Ramalina siliquosa) that stands out against the yellow colouring of an unidentified crustose lichen.
As with every day on the Lizard so far, there were Painted Lady butterflies fluttering about, often heading out to sea. The only other butterfly species I saw today was the Speckled Wood, a regular sighting both here and at home throughout the summer.
10 June - Another sunny day divided between Porthallow and the Lizard (if only we could be in two places at once!).
During the morning down in Porthallow I spent a while watching a rather too distant Cormorant drying its wings before flying off to do some fishing (and get wet again!).
Back on the 3rd I commented on the haze that can make long distance photography difficult. Today the view across Falmouth bay was much clearer, although look closely at this shot and you still make out a bit of distortion along the join between land and water.
The red ship has called into the bay to be refuelled.
A more interesting ship to photograph was this one, the 'CEC Meadow', which was laiden with a large boat called 'My Way' and (I think) six other, much smaller sailing boats.
The 20' shipping container near the stern of the ship gives a nice idea of scale, indicating that 'My Way' is about 100ft long.
[A search of the internet once we returned home came up with some interesting details about this ship. After leaving Falmouth later in day it headed for Southampton and then with deck empty, St. Nazaire in France (picture taken there on the 16th) before sailing into the Mediterranean, through the Bosphorus and into the Black Sea.
Looking back months later I'm left with a bit of a puzzle. On the 11th June it was reported to have arrived in Southampton to deliver a 33 metre ferry boat it had brought from Connecticut USA . This certainly couldn't be seen on board on the 10th! The discrepancy left me wondering about whether or not I actually took the picture on the 10th. However, a Google search turned up a picture of the CEC Meadow on Fickr that confirms my record. Taken from the other side of Falmouth bay, on the same day and at around the same time as my picture, it shows the ship in the same orientation as it faced into the incoming tide.
Also, I have since found (Feb 2010) that the Motor Yacht 'My Way' is on sale in Spain, if you have some 3,766,000 USD to spare....]
The afternoon was spent down at Lizard Point where I had another far too brief chance to photograph the Choughs - they move about the cliffs and all you can do is to set yourself up in one spot and wait.
While that wait continued there was an amusing distraction for about five minutes while this Jackdaw endeavoured to open a sachet of mayonnaise that it had obviously liberated from one of the cafes at the Point.
And one flower to be recorded - Bedstraw in full bloom, growing right at the cliff edge along with Thrift that had already passed its prime.
11 June - A day when we only made it as far as Porthallow before I needed to put my feet up for the rest of the day.
Decent visibility across the bay once again gave me an opportunity to test out the new lens. This time I turned it towards a couple of warships, the Type 42 destroyer HMS Edinburgh, and the Almirante Saboia.
The latter ship started off its life as the RFA Sir Bevidere, a tank landing craft in the British navy. It survived the 1985 Falklands war despite being bombed (the bomb bounced into the sea before exploding).
As the Almirante Saboia, it is now the property of the Brazilian Navy, and has been in Falmouth undergoing preparations for that new role.
With Falmouth Bay being very wide (about 5.75 miles, or 9.25km from where I stood to take this picture, to the white building of St. Anthony's Lighthouse) it is very difficult to decide how far away ships are in the bay.
HMS Edinburgh is a much larger ship (at 141m long), but as she passes close to one of the commercial vessels, the E.R Wilhelmshaven (212m long), moored in the bay she suddenly looks rather small,
although she can pack a lot of clout for her size.
As she passed the ship she was exercising her Sea Dart missile system, the red missiles pointing skywards in this picture. I was impressed by the speed with which the system moved!
By the time she had steered a large arc to head back out of the bay the missiles had been returned to below deck, and with the warship now closer to us it was looking deceptively large compared with the ship behind it - the 'Commander', which is 208m long.
12 June - A day down at a sunny Lizard Point,
and another chance to see and photograph the Choughs as the parents were pestered to provide more and more food to their offspring.
As usual, you couldn't be sure of where they would settle, and I didn't have the energy to 'chase' them as they moved about.
In the way of a break I spent a while watching this Fulmar at what I suspect is its nesting place in the cliff.
Then, a few more Chough picture before heading to the cafe for a long rest and some refreshments.
13 June - Another day shared between our two favoured spots.
This morning there was a treat in store when we arrived at Porthallow - a Seal. I have seen one on a couple of occasions in the past, but this was the first time I've seen one staying at the surface as much. It seemed to be happy to relax in the flat calm water.
Down at Lizard Point I decided not the chase the Choughs. Instead I decided to capture some pictures of solitary bees that I spotted yesterday.
They had burrowed into a vertical section of soil near the cliff edge. I cannot identify the species. Perhaps I can find out more about them on a future trip.
What I forgot to do was to take a wider angle photograph to show the locality - something that will also have to wait for a future holiday.
A bonus of the time spent watching the bees was the discovery of this Clearwing moth, the first one I've ever seen. I think it may be a Thrift Clearwing (Synansphecia muscaeformis).
14 June - A day off, with some packing being done ready for the trip home tomorrow. There were still small numbers of Painted Ladies passing the cottage today. There was activity in the field just beyond the stone wall in front of the cottage as the farmer cut the grass.
15 June - Time to head home,
but I had to extract a telephoto lens from the back of the Discovery when a raucous call from beyond the stone wall indicated the presence of a Pheasant.
There was no time to organise the tripod, so climbing the wall and hand holding the camera wasn't going to guarantee a sharp picture to end the holiday!
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