Our trips to the UK that involve some time on the Isle of Wight also are likely to include me trying to get a little time with the hovercraft. On our most recent trip, we didn’t go to the Island. However, we did pick up and drop off my mum when she came across and what form of transport did she use? Yep. I had a reason to be hanging around at the hovercraft terminal.
I did get some photos of the hovercraft but, this time, I decided to focus on some video of them coming and going. Not only were they running the regular service but there was also some training underway so we got an arrival that didn’t come up on the slipway but instead headed back out to see. Here is the video I edited.
Nancy and I were walking along the shore in Edmonds and decided to stroll out on the fishing pier. This follows the line of the breakwater for the marina and the large rocks that the breakwater is constructed from make for a good habitat for wildlife. We saw a starfish on one area but, since they don’t move too quickly, it was not much fun to watch. However, there were a couple of crabs lurking down there. One was just hanging in its little space waiting for something to come its way. Another was a lot more active and was making good progress across the rocks. I got a bunch of still shots but also played with a little video as you can see below.
Friday evening after work, the sun was out and, with the time having changed, it wasn’t getting dark too early. I decided to have a stroll down at Juanita Bay Park before going home. Of course, the camera came with me. Things were pretty quiet, and I was taking a few photos but decided it was time to head home. As I turned to walk back, I saw a friend of mine, Lee, walking towards me. I was about to greet him when he started running towards me and called out “otters”!
I turned around a pair of otters were swimming across the bay towards us. They came towards the little island area and climbed out on to the shore. It is a bit difficult to get a shot there, but I managed a few. They moved along the shore and then back into the water. They headed out to the middle of the bay. Clearly, they were planning on hunting so we gave them a little time. A short while later, one appeared on the surface with what looked like a fish.
Often, when the otters have a catch, they go to a buoy to eat it but, this time, they seemed to be heading back our way. I was hoping that they would come up on the beach to eat. Amazingly, that’s exactly what they did. However, it wasn’t a fish that they had caught. It was a duck of some sort. One of them had caught it and it didn’t seem interested in sharing too much. It proceeded to chomp down on its meal.
The sound of a otter’s teeth crunching the skull of a duck was hard to miss as it made it’s way through its meal. The second otter was keen to share but the first one would the carcass up and turn around to try and avoid the interloper. This was repeated several times. In due course, it decided it was done and just left the remains. I suspect some bits just aren’t that tasty. While I did get stills, the eating process was far more interesting as video, so I shot more of that. The feathers everywhere looked quite funny as they got stuck on the otter’s head while it ripped into the body.
The snow geese are a famous feature of Skagit County in the winter. They migrate through the area and feed well on the local fields. I wasn’t looking to get shots of the geese while I was up there but the view across the fields was dominated by them. I figured a little video was more appropriate to show just how many of them were there. They were a bit distant but that might actually be the better way to show just how constant their movement was.
Nancy and I had made a trip up to La Conner for lunch one weekend. Having previously had a chance to see some owls up on the Skagit Flats previously, I decided to go back there again on our way home. I went to the same spot and saw a ton of people but not a lot of wildlife. I wasn’t going to make Nancy hang around waiting to see if anything showed up so we headed on our way. The route to the road home is along a couple of narrow roads and, as we went down one of them, we saw a shape at the side of the road.
I stopped and backed up the road because a short-eared owl was sitting on a post right next to the road. All of the people were waiting about half a mile away and this owl was just sitting here. I didn’t want to spook it so I pulled up near it and then snuck around the back of the car to get the camera from the trunk to see if I could get a shot before it took off.
This I managed but the owl didn’t seem terribly bothered by me being there. I got more confident stepping out to get shots and it just stayed where it was looking for something to eat. I was behind it and it was looking left and right but, if I moved, it would turn its head to look directly at me. I got a few stills and then switched to shooting some video. The same thing with its motion. I had to make some more dramatic moves to get it to look directly at me before it lost interest and went back to checking for prey.
Eventually, we decided to leave it alone and drove along the road again. We had barely gone a quarter of a mile when we found another owl on the power lines. This one was a bit more twitchy about my presence. I managed to get a few shots of it but it flew off quickly. There was a harrier nearby at the same time so things got a little busy but, much as we were trying to go home, the wildlife was intent on providing a reason for us to stay around.
Our long weekend in Vancouver did include some slightly gloomy weather. When the conditions were not enticing for wandering around the city, I hopped in the car to head down to the heliport on the waterfront. Despite having been to Vancouver many times, I had never actually got down to the heliport itself. It was really easy to get to from our hotel and the car was welcome in the crummy conditions.
Weekend traffic levels are lower than during the week but there is traffic to Nanaimo and Victoria so that helps a little. I was happy to sit around for a while and get some shots. I’m sure a busy weekday would be better and having some slightly nicer weather wouldn’t hurt. I did figure that, since I had got some shots, a little video might be worth a shot. I was able to get some arrival and departure video so edited that together in the piece below. Helijet’s S-76s are nice looking airframes. I would love to take a trip with them some time – I just assume the luggage allowances are not great!
The River Test runs through the grounds of Mottisfont and there is a diverted section of it that runs through a very unnaturally straight section of river near the house. As we walked along the path by this section, we saw a couple of fish in the water. As we moved on, we realized that there were loads of them. To my untrained eye, they looked like they might be trout but I am not an angler or any sort of sim expert. I got some photos of them but video seemed like the best bet so I had a good at that too. Can you identify them?
As we walked along the shore trail in Stanley Park, we came up on a gull that had just caught a crab. The gull was intent on eating the crab, as well you might imagine. However, its lunch had also caught the attention of a bunch of crows (could hardly call them a murder). Consequently, the gull was trying to find a way to avoid the crows and eat its food. It was not going to escape them, of course. Instead, it had to do the best it could and accept that they were going to get a few scraps.
Nancy and I were walking along the shore in Stanley Park in Vancouver during our visit over the Thanksgiving weekend. As we got closer to the lighthouse, I saw the prow of a ship start to come into view. A quick switch to video and I recorded the arrival of a container ship to the harbor. Large vessels like that coming through a narrow entrance to a harbor look cool to me. Once the harbor opens out a bit, it is just another large ship in open water so the scale is lost. In that phase when it comes into view, though, it looks as substantial as it really is. Get close and you are left in no doubt about these ships.
During the pandemic, I got to take photos of a lot of ferries. One of the ferries I checked out was the Guemes Island ferry in Anacortes. After I had finished my visit up in Anacortes, I had my lunch with me and was looking for a spot to eat it. I figured I would go to the parking lot by the ferry and see if it was in use. It certainly was and seemed to be operating more regularly than I expected. I did get a few photos and videos of it coming and going. The ferry looked a little scruffier than I recall from previous visits. I wonder whether it is due to be dry docked soon for a repaint!