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Sunday, 30 August 2020

The Vanishing Glasses & 'Autumn' Birding!

Sunset from Coastguards, Cley



On the afternoon of Tuesday 25th August I mislaid my reading glasses at work, my 'Converse' 52 blue and black glasses that I only purchased just over a month ago. They were in a zipped black fabric case and completely vanished! I returned to where I thought I had left them, which is where I last wrote a set of patient notes and they were nowhere to be found. My colleagues kindly helped to search too and I spent another hour and a half after I finished work, searching every possible place I could think of. I just couldn't believe they had disappeared! It was incredibly frustrating. They might have been moved by a wandering patient and placed on another patient's table or who knows!? Two people were discharged that day, but they didn't have them either when I checked. I reported them missing to all the relevant departments eg Lost Property etc and the night shift team also searched in vain. I just hope they turn up one day, but I don't think they will now. I couldn't be without them, so on Wednesday evening I purchased the same pair again with Specsavers, which cost me another £99!!! I had to muddle through the rest of the week and squint to write my notes, which wasn't exactly much fun.

They weather yesterday was atrocious, with strong NW winds and lashing rain all day long. A few years ago I would have been at The Leas in Sheringham, seated before dawn for a sea-watch, but since my parent's have died, I seem to have lost my enthusiasm for hardcore birding – maybe because they were birders and naturalists, something has died in me too, that's how it feels at times. I still haven't come to terms with their deaths – I miss them both so much. Hopefully I will feel more enthusiastic again at some point. So whilst others were sea-watching, I had a luxurious lay in and long snooze to recover from working. Went to Sainsbury's for a big supermarket shop and collected my new Converse reading glasses from Specsavers, who got them delivered urgently for me – hopefully this pair won't vanish!

I counted at least 30+ House Sparrows on my bird feeders this morning, along with Collared Doves, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Hedge Sparrow and Robin. I have never seen that many House Sparrows in my garden before – they were queuing up, to get on the fat balls and 'Finch Seed' feeder! A wonderful sight, especially when the sun decided to appear at 11.30am. Cleaned the bird ponds out, which were in a real state after yesterday's weather. Had brunch and then went out birding.

The traffic through Wells was shocking and there wasn't much social distancing going on at the quayside, with people sitting on the low wall only inches apart, whilst eating their fish 'n' chips! Expect a second lockdown soon. Garden Drove at Warham produced nothing at all, but bumped into Mike B and his wife, who had just found his third Greenish Warbler at East Hills this year!!! Plus 10 Pied Flycatchers! No campers were on the field where the barn is (next to the concrete pad), but there were still a handful on the seaward side of the hedge. Bumped into Ashley B., his wife Claudia and daughter Alice who arrived as I was just leaving.

The House On The Hill at Blakeney produced a nice little selection of birds in the scrub, including Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Robin, Hedge Sparrow, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Magpies and two Kestrels overhead. I often stop here to search for birds, after finding a Red-backed Shrike here many years ago. Headed to Cley.

Several big motorhomes were parked up at Beach Road, Salthouse, obviously parked up for the night. Walked to Gramborough Hill in my P├íramo coat – I don't think I have ever worn this in August! But, it was fabulous to feel cold, much better than being insanely hot! On the pool just before the hill, I watched 5 Dunlin feeding, along with 2 Redshanks and 1 Ringed Plover and on the way back there were 2 Black-headed Gulls. Birds seen in the scrub at the hill were Linnets, Goldfinches and a Stonechat. It was still quite windy, so I'm sure some birds would have been hunkered down. On top of the hill it was extremely windy! Attempted to sea-watch from here, but too blustery. 2 Wheatears appeared on the hill by the wooden seat, which I hadn't expected and also saw a Sand Martin and a Sandwich Tern.

Walsey Hills NOA produced nothing at all. It was the first time I have walked up the steps to the watchpoint since lockdown and was disappointed to see that there are now two pieces of white string across the descending steps and path that goes through the back of the scrub – somewhere I love to meander in search of migrants – I'm guessing this is now out of bounds for net rides. Walked along the bottom public footpath and saw nothing at all. Much better luck on Snipe's Marsh though, with Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Snipe and a Little Egret feeding and another Little Egret perched on a tree at North Forlorn Wood.

Cley Coastguards produced Eddie and Andy J.!!! Plus a little sea-watch to end the day! Med Gull going west, a cracking pale phased Arctic Skua close in, also going west, lots of Little Terns flying through, a Kittiwake, Black-headed and Great Black-backed Gulls, a Fulmar, Oystercatcher and also 2 Spoonbills flew east over Walsey Hills NOA. Big notice in the car park stating no overnight parking, but seven motorhomes obviously hadn't read the notice and nobody to move them on anyway. I really don't know why the NWT don't put a height restriction barrier up, as the parish council have at Holme village car park – it would instantly sort out overnight parking of motorhomes. Wonderful sunset as I left at 8pm.

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