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Monday, 27 January 2020

MY BIRTHDAY! With Lucy & Vivien at Titchwell RSPB & Castle Rising Tea Rooms!

South of Thornham looking over to Holme Church and Reserves
Portrait mode, Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

I woke up to pouring rain and dull skies, which didn't inspire me to get out of bed, but decided I better make the effort on my birthday! The forecast last night was sunshine with rain in the afternoon. By the time I had made my birthday breakfast of fried eggs on toast, with baked beans and a cup of tea, the sun had come out! Good number of birds on my bird table and feeders this morning, including a new flock of Starlings – I wondered why every fat ball/blocks and seed containers were completely empty at the weekend, from when I last filled them up! House Sparrows regularly visit my feeding station, along with Great Tits, Coal Tits, Blue Tits, Hedge Sparrows, Robins, Blackbirds and Collared Doves and also a Squirrel now visits!
St Mary's Church – Holme-next-the-Sea
 The Firs House at Holme Dunes NWT & Holme Bird Observatory NOA

South of Thornham

Trying to make myself look cool with my green Skoda 😂😎!

I had arranged to meet Lucy and Vivien in the The Feeding Station (cafe) at Titchwell RSPB for 11.30am, for an early lunch. I knew Lucy wouldn't walk as far the sea and I needed a sea fix, so I headed off along the main path to the beach. As my regular readers know, my sisters are not serious birders at all, but have a general interest in nature, so I knew we wouldn't be racing round the county today. The skies were beautiful at Titchwell RSPB and I was lucky with the weather, as its usually snowing around my birthday. I didn't see half as many birds as my last trip here, no Chiffchaffs, Reed Buntings or Water Rail today. Lots of birds on the Freshmarsh including a big flock of Golden Plover, Teal, Shoveler, Gadwall, Mallard, Wigeon, Little Grebes, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Coot, Brent Geese, Greylag Geese and Black-headed Gulls. Further along at the tidal marsh were around 10 Avocets, 2 Pintail, 1 Dunlin and more Mallards, Teal and Little Grebes.

Walked out across the beach to the water's edge and saw a Golden Eye flying west, Red-throated Diver west, a Slavonian Grebe on the sea close in (which dived and didn't resurface when I got the camera out of the bag), Turnstone, Sanderling and Cormorant all flew past west, Common Scoters on the sea distantly. Took some arty farty pictures of sea, beach and shells and walked back across the beach. Bumped into Barry Woodhouse here and also Rob and Ann Gordon. Made my way back along the main path and Les Bunyan very kindly pointed out a Bittern just east of the main path, mostly obscured by reeds when I saw it, but a fabulous birthday bird!
Penny, Lucy and Vivien at Titchwell RSPB

Met up with Lucy and Vivien in the cafe and birthday lunch was enjoyed by all. I managed to get Lucy to go for a walk and bribed her with a possible sighting of a Bittern. We all walked as far as Island Hide with no sightings of the elusive Bittern at all. Sat in the hide for ages – the light was very poor now and we made our way back via the Fen Trail. Said hello to Trevor in the shop and then headed back to the car park via the Snowdrop bonanza in the wood. Light rain added to the gloomy skies, the best of the day had faded.
Island Hide, Fresh Marsh, Titchwell RSPB
Early Snowdrops at Titchwell RSPB
Vivien and Lucy along the Fen Trail at Titchwell RSPB

Left Titchwell and stopped briefly at Norfolk Lavender, so Lucy could look in the shop and then headed to Castle Rising Tea Rooms for a 'Luxury Cream Tea' at our favourite table. The brie and grape sandwiches were scrumptious, but the scones were very dry. Back to the diet tomorrow. Vivien took Lucy home and we all departed by 6pm – Vivien has a job interview tomorrow morning, so had to get back to do all the usual stuff you have to do in preparation.

I had a card from my work colleagues, one from Pete S., one from Lucy and one from Vivien. So sad not to receive any of my mother's eccentric birthday cards any more – she would buy a card and then cut and stick bits of other old cards on the one she had purchased and stick on photos she had taken and all kinds – they were unique! My lovely work colleague Cilla bought me a 3-in-1 Fruit & Vegetable Cutter after she saw how excited I was about Lily's apple cutter at work – how sweet was that! Lucy and Vivien/Ray very kindly gave me cash towards (my request) a Panasonic SD-ZB2502BXC Stainless Steel Bread Maker, which I had already purchased this week. Lucy and Vivien also gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and Lucy also gave me three classical CD's: Tchaikovsky Ballet Music – Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto Chausson Poeme – Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade Borodin Polovtsian Dances and a book 'Voices in Summer' by Rosamunde Pilcher, who is the best selling author of 'The Shell Seekers' and 'Coming Home' (both of which I have read).

My birthday flowers from Lucy and Vivien

The bread maker I purchased is fabulous! I have always wanted one of these. I cooked a wholemeal seeded loaf yesterday, but the process took five hours! There is a choice of a small, medium or large loaf, in fact there are loads of choices and lots of bread recipes and the instruction booklet looks extremely complicated until you get your head around it. Although it will be fabulous to make all my own bread, it does mean I will have to weigh every slice to be accurate with my points for my WW diet, but worth it to have home made bread.

I spent my birthday evening dozing on the sofa! All in all a lovely birthday and not too bad a day for January weather! But, snow is forecast tomorrow! My mother's birthday would have been on the 9th February and Lucy's is on the 10th (Vivien's on 11th November) – all Winter babies!

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