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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

MEGA 'HOT' Birding!!!

Hot was an understatement! My car's dash screen said it was 31c outside, so in old money it was 88F!!! Too hot to do anything really. I wanted to take my Mother out for the day, but she refused, not because of the heat, but because she still can't bring herself to escape and enjoy herself, since father had gone into care, which is such a shame.

Packed the car up, but delayed going out until after lunch. Headed to Wells and to Garden Drove at Warham Greens. Parked on the concrete pad and headed along the hedge-lined track. It was unbearably hot along here. Big numbers of Speckled Woods and Small Whites and other insects were abundant all the way to the copse. However, I didn't see or hear a single bird on route!

Had a nice chat with an elderly, local man with binoculars, who also hadn't seen any birds at all. He described meeting someone here once and I immediately knew it had to be J. Furse! He did a good take off!!! We had an interesting conversation about East Hills – he goes out there regularly to pick samphire and he recalled a story of a few years back, when he had been picking samphire out on the marshes – he stood up and realised the fog had surrounded him completely. He said that he decided not to panic and walked away from the sound of the sea, but a while later found himself by the water's edge!!! Just goes to show how disorientated you can be in this situation. He attempted again and ended on dry land, but at Stiffkey! He said that had it been an incoming tide, he would have more than probably drowned – this was pre mobile phone days. He told me that the creek with the quick sand, was named after a man that lost his life there many years ago, but annoyingly I can't remember the name of the creek now.

Anyway, I returned along the track and stumbled upon a small tit flock, consisting of Long-tailed Tits, Blue and Great Tit along with one Willow Warbler. The heat was almost sickening. Headed east to Cley. As I travelled along the A149 through Cley, I could see that Coastguards was jam packed with holiday makers, so gave that a miss. Went to the Cley NWT Visitor Centre and chilled with a pot of tea outside on the veranda, but had to return inside, there was no breeze at all.

Parked at Beach Road, Salthouse and discovered to my delight, that there was a patch of shade when I opened my car door, so got my deckchair out and relaxed. It was too hot to walk to Gramborough Hill yet. An hour later, I headed east to the 'hill'. The temperature was more bearable and there was a hint of sea breeze, thank goodness. No birds on route at all, apart from a Heron and a Little Egret fishing in the same dyke, with what seemed like argumentative squawks from them both. Sand Martins were cruising over the hill and there were a good number of gulls around, both in the skies and on the sea. I sat on the hill overlooking the large buddleia and counted at least 18 Small Tortoiseshells, 1 Comma and a Meadow Brown here. I sat here for ages, when suddenly some foliage rustled and a smart Willow Warbler appeared and later on I watched three simultaneously. Two Linnets also appeared, but nothing else of note. Trudged back over the shingle to my car.

Had a phone call from Summerville Care Home to say that my father had hardly eaten anything today and had been unusually sleepy, so they called a doctor out to him, who took his obs – his BP was lower than normal, but the doctor just thought he may be too hot and recommended washing him with a flannel to cool him down and tepid water to drink and get him to bed, which they did. Later when I phoned, I was told he seemed more alert. I wish they had told me that earlier as I probably wouldn't have gone out.

I really fancied watching the Pied and Spotted Flycatchers at West Runton again, so headed east. If I had known there was a Pied Fly in Sheringham Cemetery, I needn't have travelled so far! In fact if I had visited my Father instead, there was a Pied Flycatcher reported along Fenway, next to the care home where he lives! There was no sign of any flycatchers in the scrub by the goal posts at West Runton, so walked over to the blue tractor to have a second look at the Red-backed Shrike. Bumped into Rob and Jill Wilson here and we had a nice catch up. The Shrike performed beautifully, but still not close enough for my lens. Two Wheatears and one Whinchat were also flitting about between the fence posts. The light was disappearing fast now and it was still muggy. Two birds flew across the stubble field and a few seconds later another two joined them – Rob, Jill and I walked alongside the clifftop to get a closer look and the four birds turned out to be Golden Plover. Drove home and arrived back at about 9.45pm.

My Mother decided at the last minute, that she did want her weekly on-line shop (she had changed her mind a few days ago), so I had to do that before writing the blog! Back to work tomorrow, which I am not looking forward to in this heat at all, especially when we are moving patients and and us to a temporary new ward, whilst ours is being refurbished over the next 10 weeks!

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