Sunday, 23 February 2014

Worlds apart

From this - 

to this - 

The top picture is a rare picture of me at work, so rare in actual fact only 3 exist from 22yrs service!! It shows me with Aleks, a Safety and Training Officer for a large ferry company towards the end of re-fit. Re-fit period is an intense period where a shipyard tries to deliver the ship back to the owners on time and under budget without anyone suffering an accident. As H&S Officers we are seen by many to be Gestapo by trying our best to fulfil the last - no accidents. Is it all worth it? Well, it does pay for the bottom photo so yes as I spend an evening sitting on the banks on Loch Na Keal on the Isle of Mull in Scotland looking for Otters, Divers and Grebes with Eagles soaring overhead.

As I said, only 3 images exist of me at work - here I am (furthest right) in the Paint Dept before moving into H&S

and again after a dutch paint inspector wanted a photo of the hair cut.

There is potential for things to go seriously wrong, this image shows the fitting of a heli-deck to a North sea jack up vessel. You can see the ship is actually jacked up out of the water.

Here a tanker has a new bulbous bow fitted, fitting is critical with people needed to stand on the scaffolds guiding it in

Not all work is planned - the crew of Polish sail training ship Fryderyk Chopin are lucky to be alive when the ship got caught in a storm. Here it sits in No 2 dock whilst everything is made safe to lift off the broken masts

Despite all the noise generated in heavy industry by up to 1000 shipyard workers, nature can occur although sometimes not always left in peace. In 2011 a Mute Swan decided to nest at the end of No 4 dry dock and the images can be seen by clicking here. The swan used grass and an old mooring rope for it's nest. A company Director not realising I had a passion for wildlife asked if I could get the area fenced off to protect people walking passed. I did get a fence put up and reported back to the Director that a fence was now in place for the welfare and protection of the Swan - he just glared at me..... The nest went on to fledge two cygnets

One nest that wasn't left alone was this Herring Gull. RFA Mounts Bay was in dry dock for 3 months and this opportunistic Gull laid two eggs. Unfortunately some-one with low mentality if any at all destroyed the nest. I was very angry, not only at this act of vandalism but also the fact that some-one risked an 80ft fall into the dock bottom to do it, the nest being on the other side of the handrails by 15 ft....

Crossing No 4 dock gate one morning I saw this little chap....

So, away from all the noise of the shipyard is the peace and tranquillity of the rest of my life. A relaxing visit to the Isle of Mull to watch eagles, this one being a Sea Eagle

The shipyard is where I earn the money to make nest boxes and see these chappies develop (Great Tit's)

My two worlds could not be any further apart.....

Anyway, enough of that crap.....

Today I got my Tawny Owl box up. Bloody hard work. Once I had found a suitable location it took me an hour then to get it into position. The first two trees I chose were unacceptable when trying to get the box in place. A normal small nest box comes with a 2" piece of baton to keep the box off the wet and damp tree trunk so they will fit most trees. This thing comes with a 6" piece of gravel board for a baton. The third tree was just about suitable although I wasn't entirely happy with the fixings so have taken extra precautionary measures and wired it off as well.

Next Sunday evening I might just waffle about how I fell into a bog and sank waist deep looking for a nest...


  1. A very informative blog Simon, like the pics

  2. Thank you very much, appreciated......