A family walk this morning. Took a trip out to the Somerset Levels, now that we are allowed to travel a bit more.

Lots of birds – but no cuckoos. Swifts, sedge warblers, curlews, reed buntings, skylarks, egrets and swans.

Meadows looking lovely. Lots of flowers including orchids (Southern Marsh?).

 

Drama in the garden when we returned. Birds giving alarm calls – turned out a great spotted woodpecker was having a crack at the box where the great tits are nesting.

It hammered a hole in the underside and get at the young chicks – grisly. Think it got one and killed a second.

Managed to effect a temporary repair using a flattened baked bean tin and wire. Hopefully it will hold out enough to keep the woodpecker off. Later saw one of the adult great tits hauling the remains of a dead chick out. Am hoping the remaining two will survive.

Came across this research paper on social anxiety disorder and one sentence stood out, as it sheds some light on the unresolved question of how can it take so long to realise there is something going on:

Owing to the early onset and chronicity of SAD, many individuals may also believe that these symptoms are part of their personality and therefore cannot be changed.

Makes me feel better.

Some apprehension today, as I am expecting it to be busier out and about, on the back of the government’s announcement encouraging a return to work.

I hope, I really do, that people will be considerate and make the effort to social distance themselves in busier places, with more of us around. Most people are considerate, but I’ve seen enough of the small number who aren’t to think it a legitimate concern.

Tawny owlFor a bird with a reputation for being secretive, jays make an almighty racket when the occasion calls for it.

Yesterday, a walk in the woods. A jay kicks off in the trees above me. Spotted movement amongst the branches. There it was, getting in the face of a tawny owl. It would fly onto the branch next to the owl, squawk in its face and fly off again. Meanwhile, she would give a little ‘tu-whit’ in response.

Full disclosure: there is an owl box nearby that is currently occupied, so I had an idea what the fuss was all about.

Went and got my camera.

The jay had gone. The owl was now higher up in the tree, staring down at me, staring up at her.

Being watched by a creature like that is always a thrill. Enjoyed the moment and left her too it.


Thinking about the last year. Mental health. Anxiety. Depression. It’s taken a long time to come to a point of acceptance. Even now, the anxious mind questions the seriousness of it all. Little doubts here and there.

Are you sure you’re not just imagining all this?

This is not a patch on the problems some people have.

The one question that I still have yet to make peace with is how did it take so long to realise the nature of the problem? To get to this age and the penny not really drop.

Still wrestling with this one. The best answer for the moment is the boiling frog metaphor.

As an anxious child there is no alternative reality that shows yours is atypical. You grow up adapting your life around maladaptation. Avoidance. And that just reinforces the whole process. A negative feedback loop. And before you know it, that water is boiling.

Looking back I can see many wrong turns. It is hard not to feel regret. But equally I am here, right now, in a much better place. With a lot of living to do.

So if that means taking the time to stare up at an owl staring back at me, that’s what I’ll do.