Sunday, 20 August 2017

My dad

my dad, it would be hard to have had a kinder, more supportive dad, we were very fortunate to have you for so long and will all miss you a lot
Dad at home, 8 June 2017, still very much on the ball, keen to know how the grandchildren were doing and interested in how many birds I had seen and where I was going next.

Birding seems rather trivial at present, especially as I've hardly seen anything of note.

Sunday 20 August. Cissbury Ring with Megan and Cookie: A Swallow, 2 juvenile Stonechats, 2 Wheatears, 11 Whitethroats, 6 Willow Warblers, a Spotted Flycatcher and a Yellowhammer. Low tide on the Adur: 54+ Ringed Plover, 17 + Dunlin, adult anbd juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull and a Reed Warbler.

Saturday 19 August. A Wheatear and 27 Goldfinches on the Trundle with Megan, Nessa and Cookie. Megan and Nessa went to the Chichester Festival Theatre while Cookie and I walked from Stapleash Farm through West Dean Woods, along the South Downs Way to the Devil's Jumps and back past Monkton Farm. It was very quiet with a single Red Kite, Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff and 20 Swallows.

Friday 18 August. Adur: 5 Ringed Plover, juvenile Mediterranean Gull, a Swallow chasing a Wheatear on the Rec, single Reed and Willow Warbler and 16 Goldfinches. Dad's funeral. Very moving but he'd had a good long life.

Thursday 17 August. A Sparrowhawk dashed low across the garden being briefly chased by one of the adolescent crows.

Wednesday 16 August. Mill Hill with Cookie: 6 Whitethroats and a Willow Warbler. Steepdown with Megan and Cookie: 2 Golden Plover flew west, 9 Swallows, 3 Whitethroats, 45 Goldfinches and single Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting.

Sunday 13 August. Visit to Standen with Megan and Nessa where I walked throuygh the woods with Cookie seeing just 6 Swallows.

Saturday 12 August. Mill Hill with Cookie. 4 Buzzards, 4 Kestrels, 12 Swifts, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler.

Friday 11 August. Adur: 28 Ringed and a moulting adult Grey Plover, 12 Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper (heard).

Thursday 10 August. A Wheatear on Southwick Beach on my way to work and 4 Swifts over the house in the evening, almost certainly the last of the year.

Wednesday 9 August. Dad slipped away peacefully at 14:!5. Mum, Anna and I were at his bedside and Ruth was landing at Gatwick. We stayed with him until Ruth arrived two hours later. The Royal Sussex County Hospital Staff were absolutely brilliant throughout. 

Tuesday 8 August. Another emotional hospital visit although dad was more aware and took comfort in our (mum, Anna and my) presence and the knowledge that Ruth was coming on her way from New Zealand. A Wheatear on Southwick Beach and just one Swift over the house in the evening.

Monday 7 August. An early call from the hospital where I then spent an emotional day with mum and Anna at Dad's bedside. He was hanging on peacefully but hardly aware of our presence. 14 Swifts over the house in the evening were a joy.

Sunday 6 August. South Downs Way west of Devil's Dyke: 6 Kestrels, a Buzzard, 6 Swallows, a House Martin, 70 Meadow Pipits and 20 Goldfinches. Later 6 Swifts over the house.

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