We are still in February 2020, and news of a flu-like virus started to come from the Chinese province of Hubei and the city of Wuhan. At the start of the month it was still confined to mainland China, but as early as the end of the first week of February it had started to appear all over the world with infections in throughout Asia and the first European instance was in Belgium on 7th February. Despite this it was still considered by a lot of folks as a Chinese problem. Donald Trump even called it Chinese Flu. To be honest in the very early days when our knowledge was virtually non-existent, I even looked at it and said that the serious infection rate was less than seasonal flu, so what was there to be worried about? After all flu kills 25,000 people a year in the US. Two days later the first infection in the UK was recorded. By February 29th the virus was known as Covid-19 and the UK had recorded 23 cases, Sweden 13, Netherlands 6, Ireland had recorded its first case and the USA had recorded 68. I had already travelled out of the country for work three times with two trips to the Netherlands and a trip to Sweden.
Work carried on as normal and I even took a couple of days off on holiday to go and do a 24-hr session in what has become known as a pay & display hide. I’d looked forward to going to this one as it was an overnight hide for Kingfishers, Otters and Tawny Owls, next morning a different hide with an emphasis on what has been a nemesis bird for me with the camera – Green Woodpecker. I’d previously not got any where near a Green Woodpecker and don’t know a reliable site anywhere in the North West. Despite being in the hide for a few hours none of the expected Sparrowhawks or Ketrels arrived at the hide and the Green Woodpecker wasn’t playing. I had a great time at these hides and would like to do it again, there is no way my partner on the day would return and pay for it though.