Saturday 17th December was the night of the wards Christmas Do and for the first time ever in the 14 Christmases I have worked there I actually went along! It was held in the Officers Mess at the Royal Marine Barracks in Stonehouse, Plymouth, and it was a really enjoyable night - everybody dressed up, the food was very nice, the setting very interesting and historical and the Mess bar was ridiculously cheap.
December 20th and it was off to The Two Bridges Hotel on Dartmoor for afternoon tea to celebrate Mother-in-laws 80th birthday, a subdued and emotional affair with a brief visit from sister-in-law post her transplant and the physical if not mental prescence of father-in-law in a wheelchair on a few hours leave from Mount Gould Hospital.
December 21st and my plan was to visit Ford Park Cemetery to look for the ring necked parakeets after meeting my friend Monica for coffee on Mutley Plain but the forecast was for rain so I gave it a miss. On the walk up to Mutley Plain I had a brief view of a yellow browed warbler in Beaumont Park along with a nuthatch, a coal tit, 2 goldcrests and blue, great and long tailed tits but on the walk home I had much better views of a very vocal bird snaffling down a large bluebottle fly before having a good old preen while a second bird was heard calling nearby. A grey squirrel was also seen with no tail, maybe a genetic abnormality or maybe from an injury?
The forecasted rain had still not arrived by the time I got home and so with reports of a female eider off Mountbatten I headed off to Fishermans Nose on Plymouth Hoe to have a look for it. I quickly found the eider diving regularly off Turnchapel where it was attracting the attentions of passing gulls but the views were distant and the light was very gloomy - still it was nice to see only my second Plymouth eider and just before the rain finally arrived.
December 22nd and the last day of 2016 that I will probably have to do some proper birding and so I decided to head off to the Penzance area by train, managing to get the back of my hand off my forehead and my arse of the sofa and I'm very glad I did..........