Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
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Monday, 29 November 2010

First day back

Today was the day, the first day back at work.

I was very apprehensive and a little worried about returning to work after such a long absence.
The ‘working’ day started at 10 a.m………..usually this would have been 6 a.m., but my employers were very good in allowing me to start later; and for a reduction in hours for the time being.
A semi formal meeting with management, (formality isn’t my strongest point), to get the paperwork out the way, and then it was time to ‘work’.

This consisted of a lot of handshaking and well wishes from my friends and colleagues. A lot, because no work was actually done today. For me, it was quite an emotional day, and tiring, despite just ‘talking’.
With the first day out of the way, tomorrow I can get on with easing myself back into it all.

Right now, I feel like I've done a weeks work; I feel exhausted. An early night I think.

I’ve certainly missed my visits round my local lake, but the discipline of work will probably be good for me.


Friday, 26 November 2010

An update

Well, it’s 10 months since the heart attack; a long road to recovery, but eventful.

Am I fit, 100% now? Honest answer, no. I don’t suppose I ever will be.
Damage to a heart, (and it is after all just a muscle, albeit a rather special and complicated one), never heals, like a cut would. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. It scars, but that bit that got damaged, is gone. In my case, 40%.
No amount of stents or tablets will replace what’s gone. You just have to take it a bit easier.
Easier said than done sometimes.

So, the past year of recovery has been interesting.
I’ve had time to sort out the garden……………..er, no.
I’ve had time to sort out my spare room……………er, no again.
Decorate? Hell, no!
Get all the odd jobs done round the house?  Ha ha, no!
So, er, what exactly have I done?

Well, 2 weeks after the heart attack, I was down my local lake, taking a steady, breathless walk. It was good to be out; fresh air, and nature…….you can’t beat it. 
I went every other day, for the next week. Couldn’t manage daily visits, too tiring.

The fourth week, I got more adventurous, venturing a little further afield. Still fairly local, and almost every day.

Week 5? Well, with hindsight, a little stupid, but had a great time. I went to Titchwell nature reserve on the Norfolk coast, about a 3 hour drive. The weather was dire; rained all day, and so cold, that what breath I had, was taken away. But the birds were good.

After that, the world was my oyster; or at least, anywhere in driving distance. Every day I went out somewhere new. It was great. Tiring, but great.
I was like a kid running lose in a sweet shop. I had all this time off work, and I was going to make the most of it, if it ……..……
Well, it could have done, but didn’t.

I slowed down after a while, or maybe burnt out a little, not sure. I still went out though. I met up with Tricia for a great day out at London Wetland Centre.
I started a new blog, about my local lake, Caldecotte. I’ve met lots of people there, from my daily visits. Dog walkers, joggers, fellow photographers, and even a fellow blogger, Trevor.

And now the party is over. Time to go back to work; on Monday. Welcome to the real world.
Do I want to? No.
Do I think I can do it? No.
But it’s that money thing. I need the money. Work have been very good; they’ve paid me all the time I’ve been off. But nothing lasts forever, so later today, I have a meeting with personnel, or human resources, as they call themselves now. A meeting to discuss a return to work, that will get me back to where I was.

So all the daily visits to my local will come to an end. I’ll still get there, when I can, but not as often. I’ll miss that.
I’ll miss seeing all the people I’ve got to know, and all the birds. It’s the time of year when all sorts of birds can turn up, sometimes just for a day.

It’s not all been about going out, and having a good time though.
There’s been hospital visits, doctors visits, tests, and more tests. Another stent fitted, more tablets to take; and at times I’ve felt really down, and wondered what is the point of it all.

I don’t know the answer to that, but I’m grateful that I’ve been able to get out, and see so many birds this year.

And if I ever get in the position I can quit work for good, guess where I’ll be?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

World Bird Wednesday

Pine River Review is kicking this new venture off today, so here's my contribution for today.

A few from the archives, until I can get sorted properly.

My old friend the Black Swan, with a Mute Swan.



Juvenile Lapwing

Little Ringed Plover

Hope you enjoyed these. Why not pay a visit to Pine River Review, and check out the rest.

Enjoy the rest of the week 

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Sunday morning

There are some very good blogs out there, and some times you come across a post that make an impression on you.
I don’t usually do this, but Debbie, of dfg photography, has a post that I guarantee will move you. Have a look.

Ok, the other day, myself and fellow blogger Trevor, of Three Counties Herald, had a very enjoyable day at RSPB Sandy. An early start,

because we were searching for the recent Redpoll sightings, and possible Waxwings. No good on either, but we still managed an enjoyable days birding and a few pictures. And despite the forecast of rain, it was like a summers day. Wall to wall sunshine.

Mistle Thrush at one of the car parks for the offices.

A few recent pictures from elsewhere now,


 Long Tailed Tit


Pied Wagtail

And to finish, a video I took this morning, at my local lake. A pair of Coots, which were having a rather vicious scrap.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Starling roost at Willen Lake

I got there today, about 3:15 p.m., and waited. The sun slowly sinking in the west, and my eyes were skywards, to the north. A few gulls began coming in, as the light started to fade. The minutes ticked by, but no sign yet.
A Sparrowhawk lazily circled overhead, looking around. 'If he’s about, then I must be in the right spot', I thought to myself.
3:45 p.m., and still nothing.
Just as I began to wonder if it was going to happen, a small group flew in overhead.
‘Is that it?’ I thought to myself.

No. A few more appeared, then a few more. A group flew in from the west, and another appeared in the east. Two or three groups slowly became one, as more and more flew in to join them. The sun was sinking, the sky turning ever so slightly red through the cloud, and the Starlings were performing their aerial ballet.
Amazing, and it was all free!

I took some pictures and some video, but it just does not do the spectacle justice.
It may not be the biggest roost in the country, but certainly worth watching.
They circle around, groups joining groups, and groups leaving the main group; and an endless stream of birds, as more and more appear from nowhere to join them. How do they not collide?

Then suddenly they drop; down into the reeds, or trees in the distance.
How do they know when to stop circling round, and all stop together?

I walked along the edge of the lake, to a spot where the last remaining stragglers were settling for the night. A lady walking her dog had stopped to watch too, and we were both spellbound. A Sparrowhawk made a quick dash over the reeds, but left empty clawed.

Just amazing

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Ducks and gulls

The weather recently hasn’t been that good for taking pictures.

Misty. Days of it. It doesn’t stay all day though, it usually clears eventually, and allows the chance for a few pictures.

 A trio of Tufted Ducks.

 A Pochard having a good flap.

What I’ve been trying to do recently though, is get some pictures of a local gull roost. Today I managed……..sort of. There’s more about that here; on my other blog.

But to continue the gull theme, a few recent pictures. A lot of people aren’t keen on gulls, for various reasons. 

I think they get a bad press, a bit like Crows.

I think they’re great.

 Common Gull, taking a break from all the excitement of being a gull.

 Here’s another, amongst a group of Black-headed Gulls. One looks rather bored too.

 One flying by, searching for some food.

And the last one for now, another Black-headed Gull.

Should I have cloned out the other gull? Nah, I think he keeps the main one in the picture.

Enjoy the rest of the week.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Quick one for the weekend

Time I did a post on here.

I’ll start with a real splash of colour,

 a handsome male Mandarin.
(thanks Wilma. I reckon it's all these tablets I'm on  lol)

And about to make a splash,

 a female Mallard coming in to land.

A trio of Tits up next,

 Marsh, Great and Blue, respectively.

A watchful gaze from two bigger birds,

 Grey Heron, and a Mute Swan cygnet.

And I’ll finish with a gaze from a smaller bird,

 a Robin.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Bearded Tits

Oh yea!

A local birder called Paul, found these cracking birds on Friday, at one of our lakes. I decided to take a trip there this morning to see if they were still about, and if I could find them. I wasn't sure exactly where they were seen, as it's not a lake I visit that much; last time, a couple of years ago.
I wasn't disappointed. Here's a few pictures.

The male

The female





An excellent morning, with a couple of cracking birds.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Stockgrove Country Park

Went there yesterday, and always an enjoyable visit.

 The trees were looking splendid, in their autumn attire,

and one of the big attractions is the lake. Usually a few Mandarin Duck there, and yesterday, I wasn’t disappointed.

 I didn’t count them, but must have been in excess of 40 birds. The most I’ve ever seen there.

There are always plenty of dog walkers about; even more at weekends, and a lot of people leave seed for the birds along the posts by the paths, and at the bridge, that crosses the lake.
The birds have really cottoned on to this, and they are usually more than willing to pose. As well as the usual garden birds, occasionally something different turns up.
Yesterday was no exception; a few Siskin, and a small flock of Redpolls. Crap pictures, but pleased to snatch a couple for the records.

Siskin getting a drink

Lesser Redpoll, hiding

Another star bird yesterday, was a Marsh Tit.

 A little more co-operative.

A few of those about, and some Coal Tits.

Flying in to snatch some food.

Great Tit and Blue Tit, finished off the tit collection,

and a small flock of Long Tailed Tits at the far end of the lake; but they managed to evaded my lens.

Not the Chaffinch though, he was happy to pose,

A very enjoyable couple of hours, rounded off with a toasted cheese sarnie and coffee in the café. Well worth the visit.

Enjoy the weekend