Saturday, October 13, 2018

πŸ“– #59 Nocturnal Recording 🍁

Just prior to my visit to France a few weeks back I began to try my hand at #nocmig ( recording nocturnal bird migration). I'd located a very good website which gives excellent guidance on the setting up of your very own listening post.

Yeti Blue USB Microphone and dustbin lid parabolic produces excellent results
As a start, I didn't particularly want to spend the earth on buying one of the rather expensive listening devices at this early stage and so decided on a budget of around £100. I managed to purchase on eBay a rather nifty Yeti Blue USB Microphone, one of the recommendations mentioned by the nocmig site and then ended up buying a small metal bin for burning rubbish from Homebase. I only actually wanted the lid for a parabolic but could understand why they would only sell me the whole thing, mind you, it was only £12.

Audacity FREE software
So having set up my 'Heath Robinson' contraption I then required some sort of software to record onto. Again recommended by the website I downloaded a free edition of Audacity onto my Mac, Job done!

Having practised before going away to France with various volumes and directional settings I managed to complete a couple of nights recording, 23:00hrs ~ 07:30hrs, with some encouraging results. Although a frequent visitor to the marina grounds I was amazed to hear just how active Tawny Owls are for example. Of course, living on the water you can imagine that waterfowl activity far outnumbered anything else, Mallards, Coots, Moorhens etc. This alongside being on the flight path to both Birmingham and East Midlands airports caused a few issues.

Sonograph of Yellow Wagtail leaving the overnight roost at the marina.
Notwithstanding I managed a few early hits, the best of which was a Whimbrel passing through just prior to sunrise one morning. Dawn itself can be quite confusing, to begin with, the local Robins wake early and then a nearby Jackdaw roost becomes active, followed by the departing Gulls from what I would imagine is the Draycote Water Roost, so I seldom record after sunrise. Other notables in the early stages included Barn Owl, Little Owl and several Yellow Wagtails heard leaving the large Pied Wagtail roost we have here at Wigram's. These along with Fox, Muntjac and a few unknowns, one of which turned out to be a strange sounding horse in the adjacent field. The Sheep can also be very nocturnal and have some weird calls.

The very distinct sonograph of the 'tseep' of a Redwing passing over!

Having now returned to the marina after taking the boat for hull blacking over the past week I managed to complete two consecutive recording sessions before Storm Callum arrived, both between the hours of 23:00 and 06:30hrs. I was delighted to hear my first Redwings of the autumn, along with several Song Thrush and a single Golden Plover. Of course, the icing on the cake would be to record passing Whooper Swans, now on their return flights or perhaps even a Ring Ouzel!

My very first upload to the Trektellen site.