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

Deer and more.

A different area of the New Forest today gave a glimpse of both some Fallow Deer and some Red Deer. All females and youngsters.

Fallow Deer.

Red Deer.

Also, a few Redwing were about. The redwing is a common winter visitor and is the UK’s smallest true thrush. Its creamy strip above the eye and orange-red flank patches make it distinctive. Rare in summer with under 20 pairs but in the winter the influx of some 8.6 million birds!

Winter arrivals.

Sanderling numbers have started to increase on our coast as we move to the colder months. Over 60 were resting at high tide today. I always find them a joy to watch so I sit on the shingle they continue their routine and slowly come very close.

For me, these little birds’ arrival from their summer breeding grounds on the far Arctic tundra is a signal that we are moving into our winter. The terns have gone south but the Sanderlings have arrived.


The northern shoveler, known in Britain as the Shoveler. The UK has around 1,100 breeding pairs of this duck but wintering numbers increase to nearly 20,000 birds. Last week there were a few birds in Titchfield Haven nature reserve today the numbers have increased – I counted at least 30 birds.


In recent weeks, small groups of Wigeon have arrived here on the south coast. They are medium-sized ducks that appear quite plump. The head and neck of the male are chestnut, with a yellow forehead, pink breasts and a grey body. In flight, birds show white bellies and males have a large white wing patch.

Wigeons breed in the north in central and northern Scotland and some in northern England. Their numbers increase in the UK in winter as birds from Iceland, Scandinavia and Russia arrive. The number of wintering birds increases to some 450,000 birds from the small breeding numbers of only 200 pairs.

The birds on the Hamble were quite comical talking to each other with quiet whistles and giving each other some odd looks!