Thursday, 10 April 2014

Passing By

The first naval ships started passing us at just before eight this morning.  This is M862 Zierikzee of the Dutch Navy.  She went north just over a week ago - see post here.

Following behind her was M37, HMS Chiddingfold, a Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessel.  We last saw her on the same day as Zierikzee, April 1st, so they've obviously made friends during Joint Warrior.

While standing on the battlements at Mingary Castle a bit later in the morning, three pairs of geese flew by.  The first were greylags, but....

....both other pairs were Canada geese.  If, as suggested by Paul Power in a comment on yesterday's post, the skein that passed us then was Greenland white-fronted geese, that'll be three types of geese we've seen in two days.

Then, as we were sitting down to lunch on the terrace, a slug hurried by, leaving a long trail of slime on the slates that top the wall.  With today's weather pleasantly warm and dry after yesterday's rain, he was obviously looking for a damp place to hide up.  Since Mrs Diary wouldn't eat her lunch until he was removed, he was helped upon his way.

While working in the vegetable garden this afternoon we found the first slow worm of the year, a tiny chap less than six inches long and a wonderful gold on top and black on the underside.

We were sitting on the top terrace in the sun, looking out across the Sound and enjoying a well-deserved cup of tea when D35, HMS Dragon, the RN's fourth Type 45, Daring-class air-defence destroyer, slid by.  Dedicated readers of this blog will remember the frustration felt when the last one, D33, HMS Dauntless, came by a couple of weeks ago in poor light and rain.  Dragon was launched in 2008 and commissioned in 2012.

Following close behind Dragon was an old friend, M106, HMS Penzance.  She also came up the Sound with Zierikzee on 1st April, so it looks as if the Joint Warrior exercises are winding down.  She's seen here passing one of the Maclean brothers' creel boats.

A few minutes later two RAF Tornados roared over us, flying very low from the north and hugging the hills on the Morvern side of the Sound.  They may have been 'hunting' HMS Dragon.

It's been a busy day.  Time to go down the the Kilchoan Hotel for a beer.

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