In addition to the usual patch birding I thought I'd try out the concept of the 1 hour list. Seeing(or hearing) as many species as possible in 1 hour. I started from the car park at Middleton Lakes RSPB. Brisk walking is required as the hour passes very quickly and visiting as wide a variety of habitats as possible is essential. I managed 46 bird species during an afternoon session which is far from ideal and clearly with summer migrants and passage birds as well later in the year, this number will rise considerably. At least I had some idea of what was possible. The 1 hour went very quickly and its easy not to see some quite common species you take for granted on a normal days birding the local patch.The mere fact that you're looking intensively throughout the hour might mean finding that little gem tucked away! Who knows?
Saturday15th March 2014
I had intended trying another 1 hour blast but I got distracted. Firstly by an interesting Chiffchaff. I met Dave H and Archie A at my first stop - Coton Lake. Dave had taped a Chiffchaff with an unusual song. It was a pale, grey toned individual so the conclusion was that it was a Siberian Chiffchaff. It was only later when the song was analysed that it was found to be a mixture of Chiffchaff types. Very confusing and just shows how difficult wintering Chiffchaffs are to identify. Thanks to Dave H. for pursuing the issue.
I moved on to Ladywalk N.R. after checking some Horse paddocks for Wheatear. No Wheatear but I did find a Green Sandpiper and a Curlew on the reserve, the Water Rail also showed well. After a phone call from John A I managed to pick up Little Owl for the County year list on the way home.
Long tailed Tit, Ladywalk N.R.