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Friday, 27 May 2016

A Visit To Father & Birding at Sunny Hunny!

Me with father in the garden at Summerville House Care Home, Heacham

Today did not go to plan at all – I won't bore you with the details. It was a sunny day and I decided to visit Father this afternoon and hoped to take him outside in the sunshine. On my arrival he looked like he had the best seat in the house and was sitting in a lovely chair in the corner of the conservatory and he was toasty warm – his hands were warmer than mine and that's a first! He always suffers with cold hands, so it was nice to feel that he was so warm. However, he looked extremely tired and he was mumbling more than usual. I gave him a green bear for comfort (his favourite colour is green!) – he painted Holme Bird Observatory's door and woodwork green and the heligoland traps – everything was green! He nodded in agreement when I suggested we go outside in the garden, so the staff very kindly transferred him to his wheelchair. I brought down his old sunhat from his room and he put it on himself which made me smile!

Sitting outside was so lovely – initially he said it was chilly, but it really wasn't – he's just not used to being outside. The garden is very sheltered and has a bird table and feeders and also a raised concrete bird bath. I was most interested to see that father noticed something fluttering by him – it was an Orange Tip butterfly, although he didn't know what it was and the same thing happened when a Jackdaw flew past. A few moments later a Blackbird came to the bird bath for a wash and brush up. I chatted to father about mother's letter from 1967 (see my recent post), but I don't know if he understood what I was talking about and told him how there were hardly any birds on these easterly winds so far and general bird news for the UK. Also told him about mother's new hair cut, but he didn't respond. He seemed very tired indeed – he had a very sad look on his face, which I tried not to get upset about. I also chatted about all the things I could see in the garden including a beautiful large yew tree. After about twenty minutes he wanted to go 'back in the warm' and so we went back inside and staff transferred him back to his armchair. When I asked him if he wanted me to take his hat off, he held on to it tightly and said 'no' – I think his hat reminded of the good old days down at Holme Bird Observatory, which he always wore with his shorts. I sat and held his hands whilst he fell asleep for a while and then I said goodbye. I hated leaving him, but all the staff here are very kind. 
Father dozing with 'Erin' the green bear I gave him today
at Summerville House Care Home at Heacham

Mother is coming to see him with me next week – she is struggling to come to terms with living alone, even though it was so tough looking after father. I think she will feel a little better after she has seen him here – she has the awful memory of him leaving the house in a very emotional state after Social Services messed up big time with the transport. I can understand fully, why she decided to let father settle in a bit before she visited – he would have been requesting to come home if she had visited too early and that would have been distressing for all concerned.

Old Hunstanton
After visiting father I decided to go birding in hope of finding something good! Parked along the cliff top by the gardens adjacent to the lighthouse and sat and had a snack in the gardens – it was very relaxing sitting here in the sunshine. I then headed east along the cliff top. Several House Sparrows were sitting around chirping in the alexanders next to the path. I have always hoped of finding a rare bird feeding on the lawn in the lighthouse garden, but that hasn't happened yet!
Hunstanton Lighthouse

I stood by the pine trees at the bottom of the pitch 'n' putt to look for migrants – there are lots of elders underneath the pines and also sea buckthorn and some fir trees. I got very excited about a bird moving around in the elders, but it turned out to be a female Blackcap – it would have been nice for it to be a Sardinian Warbler or something!!! (a Sardinian Warbler was found here in September 2002) There was also a Coal Tit, Robin, Chaffinch and the usual fat Woodpigeons (yawn) and Magpies. I then followed the coastal path through the bushes, further east. A Whitethroat was singing and I saw a couple of LBJ's disappearing into bushes, other than that, nothing of note. Walked past the beach huts and the Lifeboat Station to the very pretty area of bushes and pines next to some chalets and houses, just before Old Hunstanton Golf Club House. Only Linnets and Greenfinches seen here, feeding on the edge of the dunes. There is a wonderful tamarisk bush in the garden of the last house – this reminds me of the spectacular specimen by The Plantation at Blakeney Point.
Walking along the cliff top towards Old Hunstanton Beach Huts

Scenery just east of Hunstanton Lifeboat Station

I walked back through the village at Old Hunstanton, past the Ancient Mariner's pub and past the pine tree belt, where I had seen the Blackcap earlier – then along the cliff top to my car. Tomorrow, this clifftop will be teaming with holidaymakers for the Bank Holiday Weekend!

Went to visit Mother for a while and showed her the pictures of father in his hat. Shared my sandwiches I had made for the day and the last piece of the ginger and pear cake from Cley Deli which I had bought yesterday. Mother is happy with her new binoculars thank goodness. The cat seems to be taking over the house and has a cat bed upstairs, a cat bed in a chair in the living and in the dining room – very few places for guests to sit!

Drove home via Ringstead – beautiful sunny evening. Edited pictures for the Norfolk Bird & Wildlife Fair, which I have now added to my post. Good Night and hope you all have a fabulous bank holiday weekend! Let's hope some good birds turn up with more eyes to the skies!

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