A frequent sight are the comings and goings in and out of Royal Portbury Dock of the Grimaldi car transporters. These “chunky” vessels In their distinctive yellow livery brighten up even the dullest of days.
Arriving just before dawn the lights of a tug lit up the starboard (right side) of the Gran Bretagna, one of the Grimaldi fleet. The beautiful call of the curlews rang out as they flew past, still too dark to see them the sound was even more magical in the half light. I could just make out the telltale sign of a family of roe deer, 3 pairs of ears silhouetted above the salt marsh.
As the light increased I could make out a large flock of dunlin flying past.
Views of the Grande Sicilia heading towards Portbury Docks
As flocks of dunlin and ringed plover flew past.
Picking up a tug by the middle buoy in the company of a small flock of wigeon . . .
Making a colourful backdrop for the large flocks of teal which gather here in winter.
. . . and being led past the lighthouse into Royal Portbury Dock.
It was not only the salt marsh colours which inspired my last post of “Summer Colours” but this brightly liveried ship of the Grimaldi Line also added to the vibrancy of the salt marsh that morning.
This is the “chunky” Grande Sicilia a 177 m long x 33 m wide ro-ro (roll-on roll-off) car transporter. Her cadmium yellow hull blended with the yellows on the salt marsh and contrasted brilliantly with the winsor and ultramarine blues from the sky and the hills – even the muddy water reflected these wonderful blues.
A distant view as she passes Portishead Pier . . .
. . . and getting nearer to me here off Chapel Pill with white reflections from the hull and wheelhouse.
I could see the cars on the Grande Sicilia’s foredeck as she passed Chapel Pill. In the foreground a flock of ringed plover were in company with some dunlin – the wings of the plover shone out in the sunlight. The cadmium yellow of the hull was darkened with reds, both cadmium and indian where the shadows and touches of rust fell.
See Salt Marsh Summer Waders for more summertime waders and Salt Marsh Summer Colours for more landscapes from that morning.
Portishead Hole is a tidal pool at one end of Portbury Wharf salt marsh by Portishead Pier and the marina lock gates. On the very highest tides the Hole is hidden beneath 40 feet or so of water but as the tide ebbs the surrounding mud banks are revealed in all their glory.
Sketched between September and January
Although the wintering teal have now left for their summer breeding grounds I thought I would add some winter time sketches that I have just been leafing through.
I find these small, fast flying ducks that jinx and jive in flight fascinating. Their teal green wing bars shimmer in the winter sunlight, though even on a grey day they don’t disappoint.
Seen 30 March 2013
The best time to see purple sandpipers here is at high tide when the only rocks still above water are those close to shore.
Battery Point is a great place to see ships passing within feet of the shore, or to get a good view of wintering purple sandpipers and this morning I was not disappointed on either count. It was actually a sunny morning but oh gosh it was cold with such a bitter, bitter easterly wind blowing a gale it felt like mid winter instead of spring.
An Autumn Morning on the Salt Marsh
A sketch of the irrepressible teal dashing past the Vecht Trader
It was a gorgeous autumn morning as the sun rose over the salt marsh but with a blast of cold air now coming from the north I must remember to wear my thermals next time! Continue reading