Harwich to Esbjerg (Wednesday 10th – Friday 12th September 2008)
Travelling as frequently between Harwich and Esbjerg as I do, there are some animals that I have seen on every trip I have made to Esbjerg so far but every so often a new discovery is made. For instance the seals are always hauled out on a particular part of Langli Sands on the approach to Esbjerg, and the scoter ducks are flying around the sand flats in great swathes. Oystercatchers are busily eating their very full platters of shellfish and in Harwich the Common Terns can be seen constantly dipping into the water to catch the small fish that are churned up by the engines when we are docked.
I have come to rely on these regulars and they all play their part when lots of passengers join me on deck for a deck watch. It is always really special though when I find things I wasn’t actually expecting and it is not the cetaceans or birds I am talking about.
The other day as I was pottering about on the bridge when I found a butterfly. Now I thought it was cool enough finding a butterfly but I was even more impressed when it turned out to be a migrant from the continent, a Clouded Yellow. I have read that this species can be found in just about any open habitat in the countryside: coastal cliffs, open downland, and fields. Nowhere does it say they can be found on bridgewings of ships, so maybe I have witnessed a first, how exciting! I have since discovered a moth evidently relaxing on the sundeck with the other passengers.
Now I start every morning bright and early doing a sweep of the ship, looking under benches and behind containers searching in every corner because I have learnt that wildlife turns up in some of the most unlikely of places!