Archive for July, 2019

The National Maritime Aquarium in Plymouth is based around 3 large tanks. The first depicts the coastal region off the British coast, the second the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the third which contains sharks. In addition, there are a number of other displays of sea-life from around the world.

Around the Sound

Posted: July 30, 2019 in Devon, UK

The harbour trip around Plymouth’s harbours leaves from Sutton Harbour near to the place from where the Pilgrim Fathers sailed to the new world in 1620 in the ship Mayflower, where they founded the colony of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Sutton Harbour
The Citadel

Making our way past the Hoo, where Frances Drake is reputed to have been playing bowls in 1588 when he heard that the Spanish Armada fleet was approaching England.

Crossing Plymouth Sound, a large natural harbour, we first pass the Old Dockyard and Provisioning centre, which has now been converted to residential and business use.

We then pass the current Naval Harbour with ships being maintained or awaiting decommissioning.

Travelling back across the sound there are views of HMS Queen Elizabeth, one of the two new Aircraft Carriers in the Royal Navy, which is moored outside the harbour.

The entrance to the Royal Citadel

Just outside the entrance to the Royal Citadel at Plymouth Hoo stands the memorial to 29 Commando Royal Artillery, who are based at the Citadel. It was unveiled in 2011 and commemorates the men of 29 Commando who have died in service since the regiment was formed in 1962.

Baseball comes to London

Posted: July 26, 2019 in Sport

A couple of weekends ago Sue and I went to see the New York Yankees play the Boston Red Sox at the London Stadium.

We arrived in time to see the Yankees at batting practice and the pre-game show.

Then it was time for the game. The Yankees scored 6 in the first innings and we thought it was all over but then the Red Sox scored 6 in their first innings. The Yankees pulled ahead again but the Red Sox came back again but they couldn’t quite make it and the final score was 17-13 to the Yankees.

There was a mascot race with a British theme – Winston Churchill; Henry VII; Freddy Mercury and the Loch Ness Monster. The winner was Freddy Mercury who just beat Henry VIII

Striped Dolphin

Posted: July 25, 2019 in Mammals, Natural History
This is a picture of a striped Dolphin which Keith took from the ferry across to Santander in Northern Spain. On the crossing we saw 3 species of whales (about 7 individuals) and 3 species (about 50 individuals) of Dolphins

Picos de Europa

Posted: July 24, 2019 in Spain

Some amazing scenery on our two days in the Picos

On the second day the cloud was low on the mountains and we drove up through it and emerged in the sunlight above.

Keith and I spent two days recently birdwatching in the Picos de Europa, a range of mountains in the north of Spain.

On the first day we make our way by cable car to a plateau 1800m about sea-level. We soon find Alpine Accentor and White-winged Snowfinch, two of the highly specialist species of these high mountain plateaus. Unfortunately, the weather turns stormy and we have to leave the plateau before we can find our third target, Wallcreeper.

Alpine Chough
Alpine Accentor.
Photo by Keith

Back down in the valley (still 1000m above sea-level) we walk in a forest where we see Black Redstart and a lot of butterflies.

The second day was spent in the mountains again, this time looking for birds of Prey. At a feeding station we see over 100 Griffon Vultures and a single Egyptian Vulture.

Moving higher we look for Bearded Vulture, but although we see more Griffon Vultures and another Egyptian vultures, the only Bearded Vultures we can see is one in a cage on the mountain side, prior to its release as part of the programme for re-introduction of this species into the Picos.

Views of Bristol

Posted: July 22, 2019 in UK

Bristol Aquarium

Posted: July 19, 2019 in Natural History
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A visit to Bristol for a meeting allows the chance to take a couple of hours off to visit the Aquarium in Bristol.

I remember Bristol zoo from my childhood in its association with early wildlife programmes on the TV involving Jonny Morris, who took the part of a zoo keeper at the zoo as a way of introducing the animals. So it was good to finally be able to visit the zoo which is located in Clifton.