Sunday, 13 April 2008

Watch the World go by.

Today, despite the fine weather birding was slow. In the garden there are still a few Siskins, including one stunning male this afternoon, coming down to feed. It seems that the weather in the south of Europe is poor and many migrants are held up, waiting for more suitable conditions.

Standing on top of the cliff there's still the opportunity to admire the resident Herring Gulls as they cruise by. They can be quite intimidating in residential areas, especially if they get a taste for chips, but in the air their grace and mastery come to the fore.

Fulmars are not truly resident. They leave the area once they bred and are missing for the early part of the winter. They do return early and by January they are prospecting the cliffs.

It's not only birds that are of interest, this sailing barge put in an appearance. A Thames sailing barge was a type of commercial sailing boat common on the River Thames in London in the 19th century. The flat-bottomed barges were perfectly adapted to the Thames Estuary, with its shallow waters and narrow rivers.

The barges also traded much further afield, to the north of England, the South Coast and even to continental European ports. Cargoes varied enormously: bricks, mud, hay, rubbish, sand, coal and grain, for example. Due to the efficiency of a Thames barge's gear, a crew of only two sufficed for most voyages, although by today's standards it would have been hard physical work at times.

I was unable to see the name on this barge, there are still over 30 rigged and in sailing condition. The pictures of all of these barges can be found on the Thames Sailing Barge site.

Mothing. The cold weather is still preventing many moths appearing, I only caught one Clouded Drab and one Hebrew Character last night.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I see you managed to finally get your male wagtail well done.... I am enjoying looking through your photo's love the firecrest...and now I see the weasel..haven't seen one of those for years..!!!