CVN-78.

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is the lead ship of the United States Navy aircraft carrier class. She is the world’s largest warship. She is anchored in Stokes Bay off the Isle of Wight for a few days and is quite a crowd-puller!

Length: 337 m

Launched: 11 October 2013

Construction started: 13 November 2009

Age of an Oystercatcher.

Watching Oystercastchers today in Titchfield Haven nature reserve I spotted a bird I had seen before. An Oystercatcher with a lot of white on his upper body. I first saw this bird in 2017 and have seen him each year since, so I was thrilled to see him again this morning. Leucism, or leukism, reduces pigmentation in birds. It got me thinking about how long is an Oystercatcher’s life span. I found this online. “Oystercatchers typically live for 12 years. However, the record stands at 40 years, one month and two days.”

Top picture 2017 bottom picture 2022.

These birds are alert as a Buzzard has just arrived overhead.

Enough is enough and they are all off!

Bite the sun!

 “A partial solar eclipse which will make the sun appear to have a bite taken out of it will be visible from across the UK this morning.”

Views from home late morning. Not like the Total solar eclipse, we had a few years ago in the UK when the world went dark. The light was odd for 20 mins or so but I could not see a chunk out of the sun however I was able to see it in the flare within the phone camera I took these pictures with.

Turnstones on the shore.

These little waders like rocky shores as well as sandy and muddy coastal beaches. Here on Meon Shore, they feed between the rocks they look in the seaweed, and will feed by picking up food from under stones. They eat small insects, crustaceans and molluscs. These birds are known as just Turnstones here and in Europe but worldwide they are known as Ruddy Turnstones.

Pulled by the Navy.

Back in the 1990s, I visited HMS Excellent originally Whale Island in Portsmouth Harbour.

While there I saw the Royal field gun carriage. On the carriage is a brass plaque which reads.


THIS
FIELD GUN CARRIAGE
PRESENTED TO H.M.S. EXCELLENT BY
HIS MAJESTY KING GEORGE V
WAS USED
ON 2ND FEBRUARY 1901 AT THE FUNERAL OF
HER MAJESTY QUEEN VICTORIA
MANNED IN EMERGENCY BY SEAMEN OF THE ROYAL NAVY
UNDER THE COMMAND OF LT. THE HON. A.D.E.H. BOYLE R.N. & S/LT P.L.H. NOBLE
 
ALSO ON 20TH MAY 1910 AT THE FUNERAL OF
HIS MAJESTY KING EDWARD VII
MANNED BY SEAMEN OF H.M.S. EXCELLENT
UNDER THE COMMAND OF CAPTAIN R.G. TUPPER A.D.C. R.N.
 
ALSO ON 28TH JANUARY 1936 AT THE FUNERAL OF
HIS MAJESTY KING GEORGE V
MANNED BY SEAMEN OF H.M.S. EXCELLENT
UNDER THE COMMAND OF CAPTAIN A.J. POWER R.N.
 
ALSO ON 15TH FEBRUARY 1952 AT THE FUNERAL OF
HIS MAJESTY KING GEORGE VI
MANNED BY SEAMEN OF H.M.S. EXCELLENT
UNDER THE COMMAND OF CAPTAIN R.F. ELKINS O.B.E. A.D.C. R.N.
 
ALSO ON 30TH JANUARY 1965 AT THE FUNERAL OF
SIR WINSTON LEONARD SPENCER CHURCHILL K.G. O.M. C.H.
MANNED BY SEAMEN OF H.M.S. EXCELLENT
UNDER THE COMMAND OF CAPTAIN A.M. POWER M.B.E. R.N.
 
ALSO ON 5TH SEPTEMBER 1979 AT THE FUNERAL OF
ADMIRAL OF THE FLEET LORD LOUIS MOUNTBATTEN
K.G. G.C.B. O.M. G.C.S.I. G.C.I.E. G.C.V.O. D.S.O.
MANNED BY MEN OF THE ROYAL NAVY
UNDER THE COMMAND OF CAPTAIN R.K.S. BETHELL O.B.E. R.N.

Royal Horse Artillery in January 1901 were tasked with the final phase of the funeral of Queen Victoria. This was to move her coffin from the railway station at Windsor to Windsor Castle. As the coffin was placed on the gun carriage the horses who had been waiting for some time on the snow-covered ground and with the noise of the train panicked and reared up. It looked as though the coffin would be toppled off the carriage. Naval ratings were ordered to take the lead, the sailors grounded arms and formed fours at the head of the cortege. Improvised drag ropes were brought in and pulled Queen Victoria to her destination. The horses were unharnessed and moved safely out of the way. Another story tells how the Naval ratings took over when a pin broke and the horses could not pull the carriage.

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has made me think of my visit to Whale Island and seeing the Royal field gun carriage all those years ago. I understand it will be used on Monday for the Queen’s funeral pulled by Royal Naval Ratings as they have done for all State funerals since Queen Victoria’s.

Town Hares.

15 model hares are being displayed in my home city of Southampton as part of an interactive art trail. They have been in the city since June but are off towards the end of August. Each sculpture is 6ft tall and features its own unique design painted by artists in collaboration with Wild in Art. Today I found 10 of them.

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New paint job.

One of 6 murals which have been painted across Hampshire, all depicting sea creatures.

As well as this lobster on the harbour master’s office at Warsash on the River Hamble other sea creatures are at Hythe Pier, & Ocean Village in Southampton and others on the Isle of Wight.

A Castle on the hill.

Kidwelly Castle is an imposing Norman castle overlooking the River Gwendraeth and the town of Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales. This ruin is in the care of Cadw (historic Wales). Although it saw much conflict the castle is in fairly good condition Kidwelly began in the early 12th century as a Norman ‘ringwork’ castle made of wood and protected only by an earthen bank and ditch.

Under constant attack by Welsh princes, it was captured by Lord Rhys in 1159. Decades later the Normans were in charge and by the 1280s it had been transformed into the stone castle we see today.

The first scene of Monty Python and the Holy Grail was filmed on the walls of Kidwelly.