Monday, August 22, 2005

Guess where I've been?

Yes, folks, I've been sailing the blueblackgreygreenwhite briney over Biscay to Bilbao and back to Portsmouth a couple of times with The Company of Whales. Both trips (12-15.8.05 and 15-18.8.05) had their amazing highlights despite a bit of bother with the timings of sailings caused by running repairs to the Pride of Bilbao. The first trip brought my first view of a breaching Minke Whale and two possible Sowerby's Beaked Whales, close to the Spanish shore. The second had spectacular Common Dolphins at the bow of the ship including a delightful pod of mothers side-by-side with young calves, which were probably born only in July. We also had our only Fin Whale of the trip (after a distant blow) just an hour north of Bilbao in rapidly fading light:
"I believe in miracles! Where you from, you sexy Fin (you sexy Fin Whale)?"
Here are my pictorial highlights, plenty of them clickable for bigger versions:

Tree Grayling, Santurtzi, Spain (14.8.05). Note the 'concertina' edge to the rear wing.

Common Dolphin at the bow (for decent shots, see The Company of Whales website!), Biscay, 16.8.05.

Juvenile Stonechat, Santurtzi (17.8.05)*.

Gatekeeper, Santurtzi (17.8.05).

The Pride of Bilbao waits in dock, as viewed from the hill above Santurtzi (17.8.05).

Wasp Spider, Santurtzi (17.8.05).

Wall Lizard, Santurtzi (17.8.05).

Juvenile Red-backed Shrike, Santurtzi (17.8.05)*.

Juvenile Woodchat Shrike, Santurtzi (17.8.05), a very scarce species here*.

Male Adonis Blue, Santurtzi (17.8.05).

Blue-winged Grasshopper, Santurtzi (17.8.05).

Geranium Bronze is a southern African species which is surprisingly common in Santurtzi, thriving on the window-box geraniums (17.8.05).

These two Little Egrets flew by the ship in the southern English Channel (18.8.05)*.
All Nikon Coolpix 880 (*Digiscoped through Kowa TSN-821+ 32xWLER)

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