Spent most of the day helping my parents. Big shopping expedition in the morning to Hunstanton. Father's Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist turned up unexpectedly, as mother thought they were coming tomorrow. Father walked with a rollator frame a few metres x 2 with them – it was good to see him on his feet. I returned to Hunstanton to get fish 'n' chips for us all for lunch, when I got back Father requested to sit in the kitchen. The only way of getting him in there, was to stern transfer him onto his wheelchair (first time he has been in this) and attempt to wheel him through to the kitchen, which was easier said than done in their tiny house full of obstacles! It was worth it though – poor man got quite emotional about being in a different room in the house. He has been stuck in the same room for weeks on end. He looked so happy to be sitting at the kitchen table and enjoyed his lunch.
I became a tree surgeon in the afternoon. Mother informed me the other day, that a tree had fallen and missed the shed by inches and that she was going to have to pay someone to saw it up etc. I realised I could sort this myself. It had snapped off more or less at the base and was balanced precariously into the branches of the weeping willow. I dislodged the tree and it fell immediately into a large shrub – good job mother didn't see this happen! I then sawed the tree in half, dragged the heavy bottom half to an area of the garden out of the way (or so I thought) and then took the top half to where mother requested, for birds to perch on. I then got told off for moving the bottom half where I did as 'I always walk through that gap to go and look in the field'. I walked back and around their large weeping willow to find further tree falls of massive sections of the willow that had come down in the recent winds. Dragged all of these and the fallen tree alongside the back of the garden and out of the way. I was knackered and covered in green crap from the trees, but was pleased I had saved mother some pennies. I discovered a beautiful moorhen's nest, lined with oak leaves and holding 7 eggs, in the large shrub, where the tree had fallen into that I was sorting out!!! A very tame Robin was hopping around me whilst all this was going on and appreciated the disturbance of earth for food foraging. I finally left the house at 4pm!
I had not intended staying at my parents this long, so the obvious place to go birding was Holme Reserves. I arrived at the car park by the 5-bar gate, along the Firs Road at just after 4pm. The rain fell heavily for a good while. I decided this would be a good time for a snooze. I must have been tired as I think I fell asleep properly. Later, I could hear voices outside the car and when I looked round, it was NOA Warden Sophie chatting to another birder. Sophie really cheered me up when she said that tomorrow should be a good day for birds and she would be starting extra early tomorrow. So at last, I might see some excitement on my holiday! The rain had stopped and I spent a wonderful evening birding in beautiful sunshine.
Pat and Geoff joined me to walk to the NWT Forestry. Found 2 Wheatears on the new sandy scrape, Skylarks, Linnets and several Whitethroats and Hedge Sparrows. Also lots of Swallows, House Martins and Swifts passing through.
Along the back of the bungalows, behind the NWT pay hut, there were two beautiful Turtle Doves purring away in the evening sunshine! Pat, Geoff, Dave H. and wife were also here. Several more Whitethroats here too. Walked up to the village car park and sat on the picnic bench watching and photographing House Sparrows, Hedge Sparrows, Chaffinches and a Robin feeding on some seed in the corner of the car park. Managed a distance record shot of the Turtle Dove. Walked around the side of the trees on the golf course and suddenly I could hear the Turtle Dove fairly close. I crept round sneaking along the back path and under the large hedge and trees at the far end of the car park. I spent ages treading carefully and slowly – my field craft couldn't have been any better – the purring got closer and closer. I had the camera ready with my eye next to the viewfinder as I got closer. I could see it.... my finger moved to the shutter and the Turtle Dove moved off!!!! I was gutted, that would have been my best turtle dove picture ever! It was sitting on a branch full of flowery buds against a perfect blue sky. You can understand why it moved so quickly though – probably thought I was going to shoot it!!!
In the trees by the toilet back, next to the car park I photographed a tame Robin – there were also a couple of Chiffchaffs here. I followed the road, past the Firs Road entrance and at the Hun Bridge, followed the footpath alongside the river and horse paddocks. Greenfinches, Blackbirds and Red-legged Partridges in the paddocks and more Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs were seen. Soaked my trousers from the wet long grasses along this path. Mute Swan gliding along in the river. Sat in Redwell Marsh Hide for a short time, no birds here of note and the water levels in the pool were high, so no muddy edges for birds to feed in. Continued along the footpath until I reached the NWT pay hut. Bumped into Robin Joliffe here, who lives along the road as he has done for many, many years. Cetti's Warbler burst into song and a Barn Owl followed the hedge along Redwell Marsh. Sat at my car having a coffee and chatted to several birders on holiday here, who thanked me for my directions earlier to the Turtle Doves.
Back in King's Lynn I went to vote and voted for a party I haven't voted for before. Also which bird will be the UK's National Bird? – voting for this ended at midnight. Excited about tomorrow – hoping for some mega birds or some rares at least please! Good night.
PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE ADDED