Hawaiian Airlines are a regular feature of the Northern California aviation scene. Whether it is SFO or OAK, their jets are a regular feature. I was awaiting a movement coming in to Oakland when a Hawaiian A330 came over the top. Initially I wondered where it was going but it turns out that it was making a wide turn back in to Oakland. A short while later it showed up again on the approach. Annoyingly, it had passed the moon as it went over the top but I was too slow to catch it.
Damp conditions are not uncommon in the Bay. Getting some vapor over the wing during a climb out would not be a surprise. Getting it on the approach can also happen but not so often. A FedEx MD-11 was on the approach to Oakland while I was walking along the shore. As it headed away, they were configured for the final approach as some flashes of vapor showed themselves above the wing. I happened to get them this time.
Oakland is a big hub for FedEx and they have a lot of aircraft movements through the airport on a normal day. While its use in passenger service is pretty much done, the MD-11 is still a regular on the freight circuit and FedEx is by far the largest operator. When walking along the shore in Hayward, I saw a couple of MD-11s come in. Normally, the jets are configured for landing by the time they come over you in Hayward. However, one MD-11 seemed to be coming in with a little more urgency. As it approached me, it had flaps deployed but no gear. Then, as it came over, the gear started to travel. There is a reasonable distance to go to the airport so I am not suggesting that the approach was not stabilized at the right time but it was a little late.
Sometimes you take a shot when you know it is pointless. However, something inside you says take it anyway and delete it later. One such shot was a 737 I saw heading to SFO while I was over in Hayward. I don’t know why I bothered with the shot, maybe the colors looked unusual, but when I looked at it later, it appeared to be in Boeing house colors. It looked like one of the 737-8Max development aircraft. A quick check on Flightaware and indeed it was. This shot is useless for most purposes but it is my first shot of a 737Max!
If you spend a day somewhere, you can get absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. Alternatively, you can be somewhere for a short time and get a really lucky break. I was down in Hayward awaiting an unusual Airbus movement as I headed to something else and, in the short space of time I was there, someone else showed up. This was a Boeing 757 that has been converted for private charter use. I have actually come across this aircraft before but, when it showed up heading in to Oakland, I was rather pleased with my good fortune.
Norwegian Airlines have been flying in to Oakland for quite a long time now. They started out with flights from Oslo but they now also have flights from London Gatwick. Despite them having been coming in for a long time, I have never got good shots of them. I have often seen the jets while standing on the BART platform at Bayfair but that is not a time to get a shot. I have also seen them across the bay from the SFO side. Finally I got to see one coming in from the right side of the bay and on the side of the jet that had light.
Norwegian has famous people from that country on the fins of the jets. This one was Edvard Munch. I don’t know how many different people they have on the jets but, with this being the first one I have shot, I don’t have what you would call a collection. It was nice to catch it later in the day as the sun was getting lower. Maybe I shall catch more in due course. However, there won’t be a lot because Oakland is a bit quiet unless you are after Southwest or FedEx jets so I won’t be there often.
Preserving military aircraft in an airworthy condition is no small undertaking. They were never designed to be easy to keep. They were designed to perform and, when there isn’t a long supply chain backing things up with big budgets, things can be a bit more tricky. One group that is keeping an old airframe alive to share its history is the Huey Vets group in Hayward. I first came across the helo when I was in Hayward and I saw it flying in he distance. It showed up in a post here when I got some shots of it.
I have since made a couple of visits to the group to see what they do. Their mission is to share the history of the EMU unit that was unique in providing emergency medical cover jointly between the US Army and the Australian Army. Not only do they keep the Huey flying but they have members with a history in the unit including one from Australia who makes frequent visits. They have many members of the organization and members are able to take flights in the aircraft. I went along to see one of the open house days. It was a hot day in Hayward and they had a number of flights lined up which gave me a chance to watch them in action from a variety of positions.
The Huey is an iconic airframe. The big two blade rotor beats the air into submission and you can hear it from a long way off as a result. Having the doors slid back to give access to the cabin and the gunner positions means you can see straight through the fuselage. It also means the occupants of the cabin get a good view of things outside. They transitioned from the hover outside the hangar along the taxiway before heading off for some local flying. Then they would return for a change or a break for lunch. Great fun to see them in action. Check the group out at their website, http://www.hueyvets.com.
Walking along the shore in Hayward with Nancy, I saw a tail moving in the brush. It was black and white and look awfully like a skunk. Despite the fact we had been chatting as we walked up, we didn’t seem to have spooked it. We stopped and waited to see it come out. Sure enough, it walked on to the trail. However, the sound of the shutter as I took some shots made it jump and it turned right around and ran back into the brush. Nancy commented that it was the first time she had seen a skunk moving around. All of the others she has seen were on the highway. It was definitely a first for me too.
The marshes are usually good places for bird watching. As I was walking along the shore in Hayward, I passed a few people that were there to watch the birds. Some serious spotting scopes on tripods were a clear indication that these people meant business. Whenever they were set up somewhere, I figured I should take a look in case it was something unusual. Of course, finding out if it is something special does require you to have a clue about birds. I don’t so I didn’t know what I was looking at.
Despite that, I could still see that there were lots of birds. Many of them were hanging out on the mud flats that were just above the water level. I don’t know much about bird behavior either so whether this is a good place to feed or just somewhere to wait for the good feeding times is anyone’s guess. I just liked to see how many of them were together. Maybe there is safety in numbers for them – particularly the ones that are pretty tiny. I imagine they could be vulnerable to predators if they were on their own.
Plenty of birds have made their way onto the blog over the years. One species that is not a regular feature, though, is the swallow. They have shown up once or twice but the lack of appearances is because they are bloody difficult to photograph when in flight. They are phenomenal flyers. The speed and maneuverability is just amazing but that does make them a touch more difficult to photograph. Also, they are tiny so you need a long lens to get a reasonable shot. That makes tracking them as the zip around even harder.
Along the shoreline in Hayward, there are some channels of water that can be very busy with swallows. I guess the bug population is good so they are able to feed comfortably. They make runs up and down the channel catching anything they can. The repetitive flightpaths make you think it will be easier to get a shot. It is easier – however, easier than impossible is not easy! I did waster some time trying though. I relied on the autofocus a little to see if it would let me take a shot if there was something focused. I did end up getting a few images. None of them are as clear and sharp as I would like but, after the time and number of shots involved, I was actually rather pleased to have ended up with what I had.