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Friday 31 August 2018

The Day After.......

I slept well, but woke up in tears, as did Vivien. We were subdued today. Yesterday was hard to take in. It was another lovely sunny day.

Changing the subject completely, the new RBA Pager arrived in the post today, but I havn't unpackaged it yet, will report back over the weekend. Still no emails, but then I have not had the time or energy to make the phone call to TalkTalk yet.


  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Red-necked Phalarope, Spoonbills x 13, Spotted Redshank, Curlew Sandpipers x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Great White Egrets x 2 at Burnham Overy Staithe
Pied Flycatcher at east end of Burnham Overy Dunes
Wood Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank at Cantley Beet Factory
Dartford Warbler still in The Plantation, Blakeney Point
Honey Buzzard (possible) at Cawston Heath
Pied Flycatcher at Great Yarmouth Cemetery
Little Gull flew past Weybourne Camp
Garganey, Great White Egret
Pied Flycatcher at South Dunes, Winterton
Barred Warbler north of Somerton Gap, Winterton
Spoonbill at Holme
Great White Egret at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Great White Egrets x 2 flew over Holkham
Spoonbill, Caspian Gull, Wood Sandpiper at Cley NWT



I was shocked to hear this very sad news this morning. Peter Melchett was a wonderful man – I met him many times with my father since I was a youngster. Peter was extremely approachable – he had a soft and calming voice – a beautiful nature and was quite simply a lovely person. We often saw him in trousers that were ragged and with old battered wellingtons – I loved the fact that he didn't give a hoot about what he wore, just because he was a 'Lord'! The NOA used to manage the reserve in Holme village that Peter owned, so my father was very much involved with conversing with Peter on a fairly regular basis, as was my mother who very much liked him, as we all did. I have several photos of the JCB's digging out and creating the ponds that are in front of the three hides at this reserve. Years have passed and the NWT now manage the reserve in Holme village.

I was talking to Gary H. only a few days ago, about having a plaque put up in one of the hides at Holme Marsh Reserve NWT in memory of my mother, who spent so much time at this reserve. Gary said he would let Peter know about mother's funeral and discuss the plaque.

I was secretively hoping that Peter would come to mother’s funeral very, very sad. Another wonderful person lost and gone too soon. My sincere condolences to his partner Cassandra and family.

Thursday 30 August 2018

Mother's Funeral – The End!

Margaret Rose Clarke
9th February 1940  — 7th August 2018

Designed by Penny Clarke

(click on each page to view clearly)

The alarm went off at 6.30am. Panic set in. Got out of bed and got dressed in old clothes and was out of the house by 6.50am. The sun was blazing and it was blue skies all day long – this we have to be thankful for, as the last couple of days have been dull as ditch water with no sun at all. I drove round to the key holders for the village hall, picked up the key and parked outside the hall. I unlocked the door and found myself in familiar surroundings – this hall was used for gymnastics and country dancing, when I attended Holme Primary school – such fond and happy memories of an idyllic childhood in a beautiful village.

I spent an hour and a quarter here, unstacking forty chairs and arranging tables. One table for the coffin flowers, a framed photograph (top picture), a vase of sea lavender and the 'In Loving Memory' guest book for guests to write in. I arranged tables where I wanted them for food and sorted all the seating arrangement. The small square tables (to seat four) that I unstacked from the back of the hall were incredibly heavy – they were stacked up high and upside down. I had to leave a note for the catering team to get the rest out for me – I couldn't lift more than one on my own! I left my car by the hall and walked back around the village, dropping the key in on route for the caterers to pick up later. Robbie B. (key holder) very kindly said he would pop round the hall and get the other nine tables out for me – thank you so much!

I returned home at 8.15am. Flew in the shower, washed hair, got dressed up in black (my usual colour nowadays!) and put my new Pandora locket around my neck with mother and father's lock of hair inside. I was now ready. Vivien had left the house early this morning too and had driven to King's Lynn to pick Lucy up – they returned just before I finished getting ready. Lucy wore her new locket too and both Lucy and Vivien looked beautifully turned out. We were ready early, this was not good, our nerves were in shreds.

At 10am the hearse turned up with our limousine for us to follow behind in. The flowers looked so beautiful on our mother's coffin. I was so upset – we all were. In all my 53 years I have never been in a limousine before until today – such a pity that the experience was so incredible sad. There were enough seats for 6/7 people, but we didn't want to separate, so we squashed into one seat – we needed to be together to follow the end of my mother's journey. It seemed a very long journey. As we neared the crematorium, I felt sick.

At 10.45am we were ushered out of the limousine and we gathered ourselves to walk behind our mother's coffin. Vivien's partner Ray joined us too. Some of our guests were still walking in and it was so nice to see my very good friend Pete Snook, who gave me a very lovely supportive hug just before we walked in. The music commenced and Lucy and I walked in front holding hands with Vivien and Ray behind us. I remembered walking behind father's coffin only eighteen months ago, it felt the same, I didn't want to walk behind my mother's coffin. I felt sick.

I squeezed Lucy's hand in support and we walked in to the Crematoriam to 'Wagner Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – Prelude'. Our speaker Hazel Warken (whom we had booked via John Lincoln) conducted the service throughout. The music was beautiful and we cried. Sadly this piece of music was cut short of its grand finale, the ending which mother had described to me only a few weeks ago, the ended that we had wanted – we were not short on time at all, as I had timed and organised it down to the last second. The entire service should have been just over 28 minutes (you are allowed 30 minutes) and we were there for only 22 minutes.

 Wagner Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – Prelude
Philharmonia Orchestra – Otto Klemperer
(Chosen by Margaret)

We sat down. I didn't dare to look behind me as I would have cried even more if I had looked at anyone. Hazel then said the following:

"Good morning and welcome, I am Hazel Warken, and on behalf of Penny, Lucy and Vivien I thank you for your presence and valued support here today, as we gather together not only to say our final farewell to Margaret but also to celebrate her life. 

Remembered as a vibrant character. A woman of much knowledge, and an abundance of talent and resourcefulness.  An individual spirit who was regarded with great respect and affection by everyone she met, the impact Margaret made on your lives was considerable she is remembered with great fondness by all of you gathered here today."  

Hazel then read out our eulogy. 

Written by Penny Clarke
with assistance and editing from Vivien Clarke
With extracts taken from father's yet unpublished autobiography

Margaret Rose Grice was born in Croydon on 9th February 1940 and was brought up by her adoptive parents Charles and Emma Riches, in the village of Heckingham in Norfolk. After attending Sir John Leman Grammar School in Beccles, she was offered a place at university, but her parents were financially unable to send her.

Margaret had a passionate interest in nature, which was encouraged by her father from an early age and she studied wildlife in her local area at Hardley Flood. One of Margaret’s ambitions was to become a nature writer, which led to her first article ‘Beasts of Norfolk Waters’ being published in ‘The Times’ just after her nineteenth birthday in 1959.

Later on Margaret felt the urge to escape from her home and moved away to live and work in Westport, Ireland in 1961 for approximately six months, where she enjoyed studying the local flora and fauna. She then had to return home to Heckingham, when her father became seriously ill.

Whilst birdwatching, Margaret become good friends with several naturalists  including Michael Seago, Richard Richardson and Chris Knights. Margaret moved closer to the Cley area and found a job typing knitting patterns for a naturalist and famed knitting designer, Elizabeth Forster – this job did not last long. She then worked at a canning factory in Holt, as a secretary for Norwich Union and went on to work as a live-in nursing auxiliary at ‘Home Place’ in Kelling – a job that she particularly enjoyed.

Margaret was introduced to Peter Clarke, who was a naturalist, photographer and writer, by her friend Richard Richardson on the East Bank at Cley in 1962, whilst Peter was establishing Holme Bird Observatory. Their relationship and shared love of the natural world soon blossomed and they married at St Mary’s Church, Holme-next-the-Sea on 30th March 1964. They started their married life at ‘The Firs House’ at Holme, where their first child Penny was born in 1965.

After the ‘Norfolk Naturalists Trust’ purchased the ‘Firs House’, they moved temporarily into a caravan and then later into a rented bungalow “Sandy Ridge’ along the Firs Road. Lucy was born in a rented flat in Hunstanton in 1968 and Vivien in the currently owned family home at Holme in 1969. Peter had wanted a son to take over the reigns of Holme Bird Observatory when he eventually retired, but they couldn’t afford risking a fourth girl! Obviously a girl would not have been capable of running a bird observatory! How times have changed – the current warden being female!

Margaret had nature articles and poems regularly published in the ‘Eastern Daily Press’ and ‘Lynn News’. In 1987 ‘Where to Watch Birds in East Anglia’ was published, which Margaret co-wrote with Peter. Margaret taught herself French, Latin and loved reading all manner of subjects.

Margaret was an amazingly strong and resilient character and besides looking after her family and large garden at Holme, she cycled several times a week to buy groceries from Hunstanton and Thornham. When time allowed, she worked alongside Peter at the observatory and assisted with bird ringing, documenting bird sightings, clearing scrub and welcoming visitors. Margaret’s love of writing and passion for the english language, mean’t that unbeknown to most, it was she who proof read and corrected all Peter’s written work pre publication!

Margaret was well known for clearing rubbish off the beach at Holme and collecting sacks of seaweed, balanced precariously on her shopper bike (as her famed shopping bags were) and taken home for garden manure! On one occasion in 2003, her love of flotsam and jetsam from the beach, led to the bomb squad being called in from Colchester, after she had cycled home along the bumpy Firs Road (it was far worse in those days) with her ‘interesting metal object’ tied down to the bike rack! The family home was cordoned off with police tape, whilst the unexploded bomb was detonated! Another interesting find was a large dead shark species, which again Margaret transported home on her bike for Peter to photograph and was then duly used as compost!

Margaret’s other great interest was her love of classical music which she shared with her daughter Lucy and this continued to develop as Lucy became an accomplished violinist. Although not religious, Margaret enjoyed listening to ‘Songs of Praise’ every week.

Since 1994, Margaret and Peter supported the ‘Moth Morning’ events at Titchwell RSPB, to assist with identification, until Peter’s health sadly deteriorated. Margaret and Peter celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary at home with their daughters on 30th March 2014.

Margaret loved to visit Holme Marsh Reserve in her latter years and spent alot of time in the three hides enjoying all nature had to offer and documenting her sightings, with meticulous detail in the hide log books. She supplied cushions for the hide seats, which she regularly washed – the cushions still remain and must be the only bird hides in the UK to have such a luxury!

Margaret was a huge cat lover and her ‘adopted’ cat has always been thoroughly spoilt with only the best grated cheese and choice of cat beds!  In later years, Margaret loved to sit with the cat underneath her famous buddleia shrubs outside the front gate! The buddleia currently remains, but the cat is searching for a new and very attentive owner!

Margaret was an intelligent, witty, stubborn, kind, eccentric, hard working, independent and wonderful women. She was adored and loved by her late husband Peter, her daughters Penny, Lucy, and Vivien and all who knew her. She will be greatly missed.

Hazel then said:

"After a long illness, sadly sooner than expected with her daughters present Margaret died peacefully at home on 7th August. Gone but never forgotten, as the tide of life ebbs and flows the gates of memory never close.

Let us pause for a moment with our thoughts – whilst we listen to The Cuckoo and The Nightingale – Handel – Concerto in F No.13"
The Cuckoo and The Nightingale
Handel – Concerto in F No.13
(Chosen by Margaret. Faded out half way through)



Written By Margaret Rose Clarke – Poet’s Corner, Lynn News
Hazel then said:

"We have now come to committal words, if you feel able to would you please stand.

To everything there is a season
A time to every purpose on earth
A time to be born and a time to die
Here in this last act in sorrow, but without fear
In love and appreciation, we commit the body of
Margaret Rose Clarke to its end with nature…

During our thoughts the curtains will gently close."

Sarabande from Bach Partita No. 2 in D Minor (BWV 1004)
Jaap Schröder, Baroque Violin

 (Chosen by Lucy Clarke, who performed this at the R.C.M.)
[Lucy had this on CD and the crematorium found the Japp Schröder version, but I was unable to find this version on youtube for you to listen to.
This version by Julia Fischer is the next best version I could find.]
"Margaret’s daughters would like to thank-you for all the cards of condolence, messages received and offers of support.  They are deeply acknowledged and kindly appreciated, and warmly invite to continue your remembrance of Margaret’s life by joining them after the service at The Village Hall, Holme-next-the-Sea where refreshments will be available along with some memorabilia. The charities being supported today are “Cancer Care and Treatment Unit”, QEH and “The Norfolk Hospice”, Tapping House. If you wish to donate today there is a collection box, just as you exit the chapel doors.

Please stand – as we depart the chapel ABBA will be singing us out with “Thank You for The Music”.

As you now return to your homes and to the routines of your lives may an abiding peace go with you."

“Thank You For The Music”

 (Chosen by Margaret)

It was very emotional, greeting people after the service. There were people who I thought would turn up who didn't, but there were people who turned up whom I hadn't expected, which was lovely. I hadn't expected four of my work colleagues, which was really nice of them, thank you so much. The highlight (can't think of another way of putting it) was seeing Ruth and Debbie Jackson (their surnames are different now though) whom I have not seen since I was a little girl – Ruth and Debbie are the daughters of the late Peter Jackson, who was close friends with RAR and my father. Peter Jackson's wife Ruby is still alive, but not quite fit enough maybe, to travel here today as they all live about 130 miles away in Hertfordshire. Peter Jackson used to visit Fair Isle with Richard Richardson regularly and I remember him as if it were yesterday with his pipe and Fair Isle hat! The entire Jackson family were like family to us, they visited Holme regularly and we spent many happy days together at the reserves and beach at Holme. I threw myself around Debbie and Ruth when I greeted them and couldn't stop crying with both joy and sadness.

I am extremely grateful to the following people for supporting my sisters and I today and to celebrate the life of our mother. Some of you have travelled long distances to be here, taken time off work and this is much appreciated.

To: Gary Hibberd and Alison Jones, Sophie Barker and Jenny Barker, Norma Bye, Steve and Ann Newman, Debbie and Ruth Jackson, Robin Joliffe and his wife, Cilla Williams, Sarah Barber, Cara Holt, Bev Eady, John Sheldrake, Marilyn Foggitt, Pippa and Andy Arnold, Peter and Tina Ham, Pauline and Clifford Rumbelow, Jackie Arnold, Pat Britton, Chris Knights, Pete Snook, Angela Collison and friend, Heather Shepherd, Pat and Geoff Douglas, Richard Brooks and Ray Bowden – 34 altogether. I hope I havn't missed anyone out! Obviously due to commitments/work etc not everyone was able to join us for the wake, but we still had 22!

The Village Hall, Holme-next-the-Sea
Organised by Sam Fox and Angela from The White Horse Pub

The limousine dropped us off at the hall and we placed the funeral flowers onto the welcome table as people walked in. The flowers consisted of Eryngiums (sea holley), yellow Fresias, Gypsophila, Grasses, Ivy and mixed foliages, Golden Rod and Limonium (sea lavender). Tina's flowers were also placed on the same table.

Everyone was fascinated by my photographic display of mother, including some pictures of Debbie and Ruth as toddlers with baby Penny and my mother on Holme beach and also another picture of us all with RAR, Ruby Jackson and my mother outside the caravan we lived in at Holme. Huge thanks to neighbours Tina and Peter for their massive bouquet of flowers from their garden – so kind and look fabulous in the hall – the scent from the roses is divine.

The wake was a quiet affair, but a really lovely afternoon. We did not have the grandeur of the massive selection of food that Gary H. and Alison J. had kindly provided for us at father's wake, but the food we did have today was very nice indeed. Several people remarked on how good the sandwiches were. Most sandwiches at any kind of social gathering are pretty naff, lets be honest, but these were the best you could get. Everything had been homemade by the Chef and staff at The White Horse Pub in Holme and organised by Manageress Sam Fox. Angela (whom we went to school with at Holme) was in charge of the teas and coffees etc for the afternoon and we are very grateful to her for all her hard work, plus it was really nice to see her.

Flowers from Tina and Peter

We helped Angela stack the chairs up at the end and we had all left by about 3pm (ish). The funeral flowers had been placed into three bouquets for each of us, so we had a lot of vases and sorting to do when we returned to the family home. Debbie and Ruth had travelled such a long way to see us, so we invited them back to the house for a fresh cup of tea before they departed. We spent a long time having a catch up, it was so fabulous to see them – such lovely people and they haven't changed a bit since I last saw them. They were amused that the house and garden had not changed at all since they last visited as children!
Flowers from Tina and Peter

Vivien's partner Ray and Debbie and Ruth left early evening and Vivien took Lucy back to King's Lynn. Vivien then returned to spend the rest of the evening with me. Stating the obvious, we were emotionally drained and went to bed early. I still can't take in that my mother has died and we have just been to her funeral – it feels like I'm in a bubble and everything that has happened is just a very bad dream. There are so many things I want to chat to her about, so many things. I want to tell her that we have finally found the family album that father had hidden up – she would have mused at the fact that it was hidden in a case only yards from where she regularly sat, I want to show her the beautiful pictures I have found of her, to tell her that Lord Peter Melchett has died (she would have been shocked and very upset at his passing), I want to talk to her about the migrants starting to turn up in the UK, I want to talk to her about so many things and now all I have is silence.

To My Dearest Mother
Your vibrance, passion and knowledge will forever be in my heart.
I will miss you so much.
May you now be at peace.
My love for you will never fade – until we meet again.
Love Penny xxx


  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Red-necked Phalarope, Spoonbills x 12, Curlew Sandpiper at Titchwell RSPB
Osprey at Cockshoot Broad
Common Cranes x 59 flew over Horsey
Cattle Egret at Burgh Castle
Pied Flycatcher at Waxham
Icterine Warbler at Weybourne Camp
Honey Buzzard flew over Wiveton
Osprey flew over Buckenham Marshes RSPB

(probable), Porthgwarra, Ireland

Wednesday 29 August 2018

RBA Weekly Round-Up 22nd to 28th August!

By Jon Dunn

Mother's Funeral Tomorrow

Margaret Rose Clarke

09-02-1940 — 07-8-2018

Funeral: Mintlyn Crematorium, King's Lynn, Norfolk
10.45am – Thursday 30th August 2018

Tomorrow we say goodbye to the most amazing mother ever. I feel sick with worry about getting through the day and want to be strong for my sisters, but its probably they who will be strong for me. Can't believe she died so quickly – we knew she was dying, but we thought she had a bit longer. My heart is torn to pieces.

We have been so busy preparing for the funeral. I designed the Order of Service sheets for John Lincoln and so I have been back and forth there with changes and checks etc. The 'natural' wild flower display has been arranged, which Vivien and I saw at the florist in Hunstanton this afternoon. Unfortunately I will be wearing all black tomorrow, which wasn't my intention, but the bright green top I was going to wear is not as complimentary to my figure as I first thought! I also had to do the most intricate sewing job of my entire life this morning – I spent at least a couple of hours wrapping the finest silver thread around a lock of mother's hair and knotting it, then making it into a complete circle and placing carefully into a new locket that Lucy purchased from 'Pandora' – finished off with a very thin silver heart placed on top. The locket is glass with a silver surround. I then did the same for myself, but mine was even more difficult, as I was entwining father's lock of hair with mother's!!! I was extremely stressed as didn't want to mess them up – I gave a sigh of relief when I had finished both of them.

I found a real treasure trove amongst father's belongings last week, a box titled 'Family Slides'. I found pictures of all of us that we have never seen and mother probably hasn't ever seen them either sadly. I have found some really beautiful pictures of her and they will be on show at the wake after the funeral. So many exciting pictures, including one of her sitting in the first ever bird hide built in Norfolk! I have spent hours and hours scanning slides in, photoshopping all the hairs, blobs and marks out, which slides collect over the years – all displayed on the same display board that Sophie Barker lent us for father's wake last year. Had to buy loads of velcro tape and my fingers are currently very painful after all the cutting, peeling off the backing and sticking on all my laminated pictures!

On my card for the florist today I wrote the following:

Your vibrance, passion and knowledge will forever be in my heart.
I will miss you so much.
May you now be at peace.
My love for you will never fade – until we meet again.
Love Penny xxx
Lucy and Vivien's cards were so beautifully worded, I cried.

I have to get up very early in the morning to go and set up the display board at the wake venue and a few other quick jobs. The caterers are organising the room for us, whilst we are at the funeral. When I return to the family home, Vivien will have just left to go and pick Lucy up in King's Lynn. The hearse and a limousine will start from our family home. I drove my family to father's funeral, I simply couldn't do it this time. I would like to thank all of you who are coming tomorrow – it is deeply appreciated by my sisters and I. Also huge thanks to all the wonderful cards we have received and the massive bouquet of flowers from my dear work colleagues and also from neighbours in the village, including buns and garden grown produce!

I will see some of you tomorrow morning – good night.
Margaret Clarke
Scything hay outside Holme Bird Observatory in 1964 – ©Peter Clarke
Then became known as 'Firs House, Norfolk Naturalists Trust'
and now 'Holme Dunes Nature Reserve Norfolk Wildlife Trust'


  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Spoonbills x 11, Spotted Redshank, Curlew Sandpiper at Titchwell RSPB
Black Tern at Weybourne
Spoonbill at Thornham Harbour
Spotted Redshank flew over Lyng
Garganey at Welney WWT
Pied Flycatcher at Walsey Hills NOA
Great White Egret at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Wood Sandpiper, Caspian Gulls x 2 at Cley NWT
Purple Heron flew over and then out to sea at Gorleston
Dartford Warbler in The Plantation, Blakeney Point
Black Terns x 2 at Rollesby Broad
Spoonbills x 2, Garganey at Holme NWT
Pied Flycatcher at Warham Greens
Caspian Gull at Cromer
Osprey flew over Kimberley
Turnstones x 12, Wood Sandpipers x 2, Garganey at Cantley Beet Factory
Wood Sandpiper at Buckenham Marshes RSPB

Soldier's Point, County Louth, Ireland

Tuesday 28 August 2018


  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Cattle Egret, Black Tern at Breydon Water
Long-tailed Skua (possible), Black Tern at Cley
Spoonbill, Caspian Gulls x 5 at Cley NWT
Cattle Egret at Burgh Castle
Black Terns x 2 at Weybourne
Spoonbills x 13 at Titchwell RSPB
Spoonbills x 3, Common Cranes x 17, Garganey at Welney WWT
Spotted Crake, Great White Egret at Potter Heigham Marshes
Little Stint at Rush Hill Scrape, Hickling Broad NWT
Black Terns x 3 at Rollesby Broad
Caspian Gulls x 4 at Cromer
Black Terns x 3 at Ormesby Broad
Osprey at Cockshoot Broad
Spoonbills x 3, Short-eared Owl at Holme NWT
Great White Egrets x 2 at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB

Porthgwarra, Cornwall
Porthgwarra, Cornwall


Since early Sunday afternoon I have not received any emails at all, never mind about the fact that I can't send any! I won't be phoning TalkTalk or BT until after the funeral now, can't be doing with the added stress. Apologies if someone has sent me an email. Please text me or send me a message on Facebook.

Monday 27 August 2018


  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Black Terns x 3 flew past Weybourne
Osprey at Ranworth Broad
Black Terns x 3 at Rollesby Broad
Cattle Egret at Breydon Water
Caspian Gulls x 2 at Sheringham
Cattle Egret at Burgh Castle
Caspian Gull, Wood Sandpiper, Cattle Egret flew over Cley NWT
Turnstones x 8 at Cantley Beet Factory
Garganey at Hockwold Washes
Great White Egret at Woodbastwick
Garganey at Welney WWT
Osprey at Cockshoot Broad
Great White Egret at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Curlew Sandpiper, Spoonbills x 12 at Titchwell RSPB
Little Stint at Rush Hill Scrape, Hickling Broad NWT
Spotted Redshank at Potter Heigham Marshes


Sunday 26 August 2018

Weekend Update

A very kind neighbour left some garden produce in the porch yesterday morning, pretty sure it was Tina, thank you so much! Vivien is spending the weekend with Ray and I'm here on cat watch duties. The BT Smart Hub 6 arrived!!!!! It married up to the iMac extremely quickly so that was impressive, BUT I STILL CAN'T SEND EMAILS! Phoned BT today, but all their systems were down so they couldn't help me – will try again tomorrow.

What a miserable day today, I was going out birding to cheer myself up, but the weather was atrocious – rain all day. Didn't achieve much at all. Hand washed Lucy's blouse and cardigan for the funeral, dried over electric radiator, mended button and ironed later for her. Kept the cat fed, kept me fed and basically slept all day – feel very low, still can't believe mother has died. I drove back to Holme from King's Lynn yesterday and was sobbing all the way home, when I realised I couldn't ring mother to tell her any bird news anymore – she was always good at telling me what birds were going to turn up and generally she was correct – I will miss this so much. There is now a massive void in my life that will never be filled and its no good anyone telling me that 'time will' heal because that's b*llocks!!!

Had a lovely surprise visit from one of our old family friends Malcolm W. who popped in for a short while this afternoon, which was really nice. I only noticed today that mother's last entry on her calender in the kitchen was about the 'beautifully marked juvenile Green Woodpecker' that she had watched drinking from one of the bird pools by the bird table on Friday 20th July – I clearly remember her telling me about this as I had missed it! I can't come to terms with the fact that she was sitting in her armchair by the window, fully alert and able to watch the birds, then have a stomach drain six days later on 26th July and then die on the 7th August – gone far too soon. The drain was supposed to make her feel better – I personally think it speeded up her death, but then it could have been worse, her pain might have been prolonged it she had not had the drain, who knows, we never will. I am dreading the funeral, its getting close now, Thursday is scarily close.


  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Curlew Sandpiper, Spoonbills x 9 at Titchwell RSPB
Wood Sandpiper at Buckenham Marshes RSPB
GREAT SHEARWATER flew east at 8.52am, Balearic Shearwater flew east at Sheringham
Wood Sandpiper, Little Stint, Caspian Gull at Cley NWT
Great White Egret at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Black Tern at Rollesby Broad
Garganey x 2, Spoonbills at Welney WWT
Purple Heron at How Hill Nature Reserve
Cattle Egret at Burgh Castle
Spoonbills x 4, Short-eared Owl at Holme
Osprey at Ranworth Broad
Willow Tits x 2 at Cockley Cley

Tresco, Isles of Scilly
Porthgwarra, Cornwall
Cape Clear Island, County Cork, Ireland