As it is getting near Christmas a title pinched from a carol seems appropriate for the gem to follow.
Regular readers will know Paul Wildlifewriter has been providing some detailed weather information and also research aspects for the blog. He should be writing this post really, but has given me the privilege of sharing his fascinating findings on one aspect.
Paul has conducted a detailed analysis of 7H’s sea travel. Her first experience of life at sea was on 9 September when she left Wales and flew SW over the Southern Irish Sea parallel to Cornwall before ending up in the Scillies. Paul’s work reveals that she hitched a lift on two different vessels. (When between them she flew much faster than either were going, mostly between 25 and 35 knots, so it is clear there were two ships!) Ships 1 and 2.
Paul then delved into 7H’s crossing of the Bay of Biscay on 10/11 September. You may recall that she started looking for a roost point part way across and ended up on a ship (or so it seemed). Soon after she changed her course Paul found she landed on one ship for a few minutes; it was obviously not to her taste because she took off again and flew until she found another roost point – the ship she was on overnight. Here is the evidence, click to enlarge. Ships 3 and 4.
One more sea journey to go, and as 7H neared Morocco…. Yes, she had another lift! The fixes were less frequent but at around sunset on 21 September she landed on a craft which was travelling too slowly – 3 knots – to be a cargo vessel and was very possibly a fishing boat. So did 7H manage to pinch some supper?! Ship 5.
Paul examined UV and VV’s sea travel but no external assistance was found. Many seabirds roost on ships from time to time, as do migratory species. Sometimes it is a lifesaver for them and here is one recent example of where this may have been the case for a juvenile osprey.
In his analysis Paul used detailed information about the prevailing weather (especially winds), currents, shipping lanes, accuracy of ship’s autopilot systems and more. He put in a lot of work but what an interesting outcome. Grateful thanks to him.