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Saturday, 20 June 2020

Me, Life, plus Birding At Wells and Cley!

Walsey Hills NOA

For the past week, I haven't been at work. In fact, apart from one short boring walk from my house, I have not left the house or had any contact with another soul since last Sunday. I have been struggling with lots of things and am constantly tired, like really tired. All I want to do is sleep. Its as though someone is pushing my eyelids closed, its the only way to describe it. I have been getting up in the mornings and then falling asleep on the sofa on and off throughout the day. Its been an effort to even make lunch and tea. It all seems such a precious waste of life, but I can't help how things are. Ok, so I'm not good at going to bed early, but I've tried going earlier and it makes no difference to how I'm feeling at the moment. I had a GP appointment by telephone on Monday and I was told that I needed to be signed off for two weeks with "stress", whilst, quote "they get to the bottom of things". The GP requested I have a blood test, which I got booked for Thursday. Meanwhile, it was suggested by one of my senior work colleagues to ring the hospital to speak to someone – they are offering lots of help for staff struggling with the Covid-19 situation, including speaking to a psychologist. I managed to have a lovely chat with a lady called Louise, later on Monday. I ended up in floods of tears and broke down completely – mostly because I was saying how much I missed my mother – I was telling Louise that my mother was my best friend and how I rang her every morning, on the way to work and several times in the evening and throughout the weekend. I miss her terribly. Louise emailed me lots of useful resources and I have a second telephone appointment with her next Friday.

I got the results from the blood test on Friday and all is good, with no signs of why I am fatigued. The only things that showed was the fact that my hormones are out of sink (I know that, due to early hysterectomy at aged 33) and my cholesterol levels were a bit high, no surprise there either! But the doctor did say, that although my cholesterol level was high, the actual ratio was good, as most of my cholesterol was the good type, not the bad type! This doesn't change the fact that I need to eat less! The doctor said that when there are no indicators in the blood, as to why someone feels so tired, they then look at other possibilities. He doesn't think my symptoms are related to low mood or depression, he is thinking that there is a possibility that I have 'Chronic Fatigue Syndrome' (ME) and is going to refer me to a clinic, which, is in Great Yarmouth, but he said "with lockdown it will more than likely be a telephone appointment. He also wants to sign me off work for a further two weeks.

I was shocked to see two colleagues I know at the hospital, being waved and clapped out of the hospital as they were leaving, on the QEH Twitter feed last week. They had both been battling Coronavirus in hospital for several weeks! I had no idea they had, so it was a bit of shock to see these videos of Tim and Roger! Thank goodness that they came through and are now returning home!

Mentally, I needed to leave the house today, I needed some serious exercise and a change of scene. I still didn't have the energy to leave until the afternoon though! It would have been nice to stay local and go somewhere like Heacham or Snettisham beaches, but I knew that with so many people here in Norfolk right now, that it would be heaving with unruly dogs and certainly wouldn't have been stress free! Holme reserves are still closed, so can't go there – OK, I could have walked from Thornham Harbour as Vivien and I did a few weeks back, but that would also be heaving with dog walkers on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The most peaceful place I could think was North Point Pools at Wells – so that's where I headed.

It was indeed peaceful, hot but quiet. Birds seen: Wood Sandpipers x 2, lots of Redshanks, a Little Ringed Plover, a Common Buzzard perched on a tree, Avocets, Pied Wagtail, Shelducks, Mallards, Gadwall, Shoveler, a single Spoonbill, Little Egrets x 2, Reed Bunting, Linnets x 2, Goldfinches, Egyptian Geese, Lapwings, Swallows and Swifts and that was about it I think.

I headed east and parked up in the Walsey Hills NOA car park, to look for the Turtle Dove that had just come up on the RBA pager. Sadly I found out later, that the Turtle Dove was not a recent sighting, but had been seen much earlier in the day. I searched Walsey Hills with no sign of bird or 'purring'. I did find a female Blackcap, half way along the now almost overgrown bottom path and saw a Squirrel hanging upside down on the nut feeder! There is so much bracken growing, you can hardly see the bird feeders from the bottom path, which is frustrating, especially when you are short! I also saw a Blue Tit, a Comma Butterfly resting on a reed head and on Snipe's Marsh, a pair of Tufted Ducks, Mallards and a Little Grebe.

Parked up in the East Bank car park. I love walking along here, it was where my parents met, so its very special to me. My aim was to hopefully see some of the gulls feeding offshore, as many others have witnessed over the last couple of days. Bumped into Eddie along the bank, who was just leaving to go home for tea and was returning later, we chatted for a while and I then continued north to the sea! Lots of bees on the thistles either side of the bank and also saw a Peacock Butterfly caterpillar. The temperature was perfect now, warm but not too hot. I walked west a short distance and sat down on the shingle only yards from the edge of the sea. I couldn't believe how many people were fishing – all the way along the beach, left and right of me. I was shocked at how many people were opposite Coastguards, I have never seen so many in that spot before! Eddie told me earlier that people were fishing for Mackerel. It was very therapeutic sitting here on the shingle, watching the waves gently splashing over the edge of the shingle slope. The sea was like a mill pond, which you rarely see at Cley! There was a huge concentration of gulls between Coastguards and myself, but I wasn't able to get any nearer without disturbing them, so I sat and waited and watched. A few of the gulls and terns did come my way and I managed to get some lovely pictures of Sandwich Terns in flight over my head and of Med Gulls fishing in front of me. There were Common Terns as well, along with Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Little Gulls and also Cormorants flew past on the horizon. The scene before me was idyllic. I closed my eyes and listened to the waves for a while and wished I could stay here forever. The cloud formations were stunning and I took lots of pictures with the iPhone.

I could see that Andy Johnson and Eddie were standing on the shingle, a good distance east from me (opposite the end of East Bank), watching the gulls and terns. Suddenly a Common Scoter came into view, I don't think I have ever seen once this close, but it still wasn't close enough for mint pictures! Then a really interesting thing occurred! A butterfly was fluttering over the sea, directly out in front of me – it carried on flying east until I couldn't see it anymore – obviously I know they migrate, but I can't recall seeing any butterfly over the sea for a very long time! It looked yellowish, but later on it appeared over the shingle and landed in the nearest vegetation at the end of the East bank and turned out to be a Large White butterfly – I'm so glad it made it! The shingle was getting very uncomfortable now, so got up and joined Eddie and Andy. Shortly after this, was when we all saw the butterfly struggling over the shingle and land. There were so many gulls appearing now between here and Coastguards, we decided to go and count them. We all walked back to where I had been sitting for closer views and Eddie and Andy counted 20+ Med Gulls (I didn't have my scope with me), too far for bins. The setting sun was spectacular and we were all taking funky pictures on our phones. A young man walked past us with fishing rod etc and proceeded to walk straight through all the gulls, resulting in their prompt departure, very sadly! Some flew to North Scrape and the others out to sea. So that was the end of that! The sun was still a long way off setting on the longest day of the year!

We walked back along East Bank and saw a Sand Martin and lots of birds on Arnold's Marsh, including a Heron, Black-tailed Godwits, Redshanks, Shelducks, gulls and terns etc. Unfortunately this spectacular afternoon, didn't end well. At the end of the bank, Andy walked to the end, as his car was parked at Walsey Hills. As Eddie and I proceeded to walk down the steps to the car park, 2 black Labradors viciously and unexpectedly stormed up to us and were barking aggressively. They were so quick, it caught us both by the surprise and I gasped with fear (not joking). I know they made Eddie jump too, as he became (understandably) extremely angry with the owners in the car park and a huge exchange of words then ensued. I also pointed out to the couple, the sign that was right in front of them, that clearly reads, that dogs must be on a lead. The reply I got was 'its a car park'. I was most disgruntled when the man of the couple said 'I live in Norfolk, I'm from here' – 'so do I' I said and 'I was born here'. What the hell had that got to do with their dogs not being on leads, I really don't know. It doesn't matter if you live here or not, when a reserve asks for dogs to be on leads, that's what it means, not running round and scaring the hell out of people! The man then asked Eddie if he was from Yorkshire, that didn't go down well!!! I can't repeat the language that was used all round! Eddie left the car park and so did I. I had intended on having my tea here, but decided I would have it elsewhere!

I parked up at a little spot in Cley to photograph some Pyramidal Orchids, that Andy had told me about earlier – there were quite a few and I spent a little while here photographing them. I then headed towards Glandford Bridge, where I saw 'Casper' the wonderful white Barn Owl, that has been around for a while. I turned the car around and parked up in a small pull in area to have my tea. I was shocked to see huge black plumes of smoke in the distance – Eddie then texted to say that Budgens in Holt was on fire!!! Not only was it on fire, it burnt to the ground later – see the link on my Lockdown post today for pictures! Shocking to hear that! Whilst eating my salad tea, I saw the Barn Owl again, along with a Marsh Harrier over the large field. I left here and saw a Tawny Owl flying over the road on the way home. I also counted SIX fire engines racing towards Holt!!! Goodnight!

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