Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Flying Things!

It's that time of year when I give up a few paragraphs of my blog over to one of my other passions in life and no surprises when I tell you that it also involves flying things!

Stunning Flypast!
Each year Dee and I pay a Saturday visit to RAF Fairford during the weekend of the Royal International Air Tattoo. This year we were joined by our dear friends John and Pat Gibson, John being somewhat of an aviation expert, formerly the engineering director for Monarch Airways and always worth a good aviation story, not to mention a fountain of information.

Brietling Super Constellation - My all-time favourite!
The two main highlights for me this year was firstly the Brietling Super Constellation, an aircraft capable of crossing the Atlantic without any stop-overs, but unfortunately only on static display and the previously unseen flypast of the Red Arrows alongside British Airways spanking new Airbus A380, a real sight to behold.

B-25J Mitchell with the amazing F4 Corsair
Other personal highlights were the 1949 Hawker Sea Fury, Red Bull's immaculate B-25J Mitchell, a gleaming silver World War Two era bomber and accompanied in flight by the F4 Corsair. The Swedish Air Force SAAB JAS-39 Gripen with it's superb maneuverability and of course the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Red Arrows and the Avro Vulcan Bomber XH558, a terrific day out!

Another Show Stopper! 1949 Hawker Sea Fury...
Back to the birding and a visit to a very thundery Brandon Marsh early morning, which despite a slow birding time of year threw up a few goodies. Firstly a couple of Common Snipe, my first since the spring and later in the morning a very nice looking Wood Sandpiper flew in around 10:30 am. Also of note: Hobby (1), Common Sandpiper (1), Green Sandpiper (1), Little-ringed Plover (4), Oystercatcher (4) and Common Tern (5), not including the two young birds which appear to be doing quite well on the nesting rafts.

Speckled Wood at Brandon Today.
After the morning downpours a significant improvement in the weather after lunch enabled Derek, Mike and I to take a tour of the Tip and Farm Pool areas of the reserve, where a host of butterflies, damselfly and dragonflies were on the wing in the now humid conditions.

Dragonflies of note: Southern Hawker, Black-tailed Skimmer and Brown Hawker. Butterflies Noted: Marbled White (6), Large White (5), Gatekeeper (7), Peacock (2), Comma (5), Red Admiral (2), Small Skipper (2), Large Skipper (1), Small Tortoiseshell (3),  Speckled Wood (2), Brimstone (1) plus excellent numbers of Small White, Green-vein White, Meadow Brown and Ringlet.