I have a dilemma... Tomorrow my plan is to hit the patch for an hour before work. This will necessitate a crack of dawn start...and herein lies my dilemma...and it seems, moreover, to be a recurring one - see 'Double 'O' - where exactly to go? I have various options.
IF I wish to get the pre-migrant ton then I should maximise the likelihood of the most new patch species per hour (see - 'Touch and go...') and so probably do Lapwing Lane and its environs for Goldcrest, Willow Tit, Little Egret (maybe coming off the Lapwing Lake roost), Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Tawny Owl (calling, maybe), Grey Wagtail (maybe at the little pool by the feeding station), and House / Tree Sparrow near the Car Park (they have been there in the past...).
IF I wish to end the year with the longest year list then I should maximise the likelihood of finding those species only around for a little longer...if they're around at all e.g. Woodcock and Jack Snipe (maybe in the Snipe Fields) or SEO and Merlin (maybe on Norton Marsh)... although I'd not have time to do both.
IF, however, I wish to enjoy some patch solitude and watch the sun come up I should simply go to my little bend in the river...and that, dear reader, is the 'problem'... because at the moment I hear the siren call of the river... every time I decide to visit the patch.... and that does not really fit into either of the above scenarios. What's more, I'm even getting an inkling to JUST do the river for the rest of the year and not bother with the rest of the patch! Strange. Maybe it's because Halfway House is so unpredictable... anything could turn up, whereas elsewhere there's a certain amount of predictability. It's relatively easy to 'search' the rest of the patch for 'target' species...but for some reason that doesn't appeal too much at the moment. The river is exciting BECAUSE of its unpredictability and it seems that THAT is what I get most out of patching. Wow, how cathartic blogging can be. I think what I really want at the moment is SPOT BIRDING... look on it as a kind of hardcore patch birding. I wonder how much you could see from just a single spot? Sure the list would be shorter than if I worked the WHOLE patch...but think of the joys of discovery that could await... documenting the seasonal comings and goings on that little bend in the river - magical!