Sunday, September 19, 2010

Biscay to Bilbao

I'm just back from a trip on the Pride of Bilbao, one of the last few before it's taken out of service on that route.

Whalewatching on the Pride of Bilbao
Whalewatchers in the evening

You can read the Biscay Dolphin Research Programme's official sightings list, but here are a few personal highlights...

  • Not-too-bad-considering views of Fin, Pilot and Sperm Whales, Bottle-nosed, Common, Striped and Risso's Dolphins, and Harbour Porpoise
  • Little flock of Grey Phalaropes bobbing on the sea
  • Storm Petrels across the bows
  • Sabine's Gulls
  • Melodious Warbler on the boat for a few hours, before flying off high towards the Channel Islands
  • Swallows and Sand Martins heading south strongly
I opted to get the train into Bilbao city centre, where we did a circuit of the outside of the Guggenheim - well worth it! Breakfast (tortilla and cafe con leche) nearby was much needed

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Giant flowery puppy outside the museum (House Sparrows nest in it)

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Mysterious mist and sculpture

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Giant spider

Abando-Indalecio Prieto station
Inside the station

South coast
Up the Channel on the way back into Portsmouth

There seemed to be a lot of whalewatchers on board. I'm sure we must have looked strange to some onlookers, but I don't really understand the people who got off the boat and headed directly to the nearest bar in Santurtzi for a pint, then headed off to the shop to stock up on tobacco. Oh well. I still think that's weirder than we were.

photos taken with Canon Powershot A640

1 comment:

  1. It's sad that Portsmouth-Bilbao is all coming to an end. Cramming birders and cetacean-watchers (cetters?)onto a big boat with non-birders was always part of the fun. I spent several hours at the back of the boat a couple of weeks back, variously surrounded by English housewives and French Students, who I'm sure thought it highly amusing that I kept shouting and pointing at things far out to sea but one by one they all came to talk and have a look at a bird or a dolphin. A great way for people to connect with nature and get to see how exciting it can all be.