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Time Travel to the Dawn Chorus

Before you ask, no, I don’t have a brand new invention I can tell you about five years ago. However, the annual switch from GMT to BST allows a limited form of time travel. As far as the birds are concerned, dawn comes just a little bit earlier than yesterday. For us, clock-constrained humans, we have shifted by a whole hour and rolling out of bed just before 6am is the equivalent of what would have been 5am the day before. It still means getting up early but the clock change is the easiest point in the spring to get out and hear the dawn chorus.

Jane and I strolled along the canal and then walked back via Dishley Pool. Frankly, the sound of the chorus wasn’t any more impressive when we got further out in the countryside than from our own back garden. I didn’t pursue my plans of doing some field recording because it was so windy this morning but, if I want to capture early morning birdsong, I now know that I don’t need to allow extra time for the walk. I’ll keep that in mind as the time travel effect wears off over the next couple of weeks.

However, it was still worth doing the stroll this morning. We didn’t see much in the way of remarkable bird life except for a minute or so, when we spotted a small bird only a couple of metres away from us. At that point, just after turning off from the canal towards the pool, it was still quite dim but I’m fairly confident that it was a chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita). It didn’t sing while it was so close and could have been a willow warbler instead but I saw a report on a local Facebook page that chiffchaffs have been seen back in the area so I’m reasonably confident on the identification.

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