Saturday, 18 April 2020

Nocmig Revelations!

Right, I'm going to knock this post out pronto, because I've got somewhere to be when it gets dark.


Last night it was a bit rainy for a while after sunset, and I was quite happy pootling around indoors, writing the carpy post. Which I enjoyed doing. Enjoyed a lot. cost me. I didn't know quite how high was the price until this morning when I reviewed last night's nocmiggage. Oof! Honestly, this nogmig lark is a proper revelation. I am pretty sure that all three of the birds featured in the following 'spectrovids' would have succumbed to a 'naked' effort, had I been sitting outside with a nice glass of wine as per normal. Certainly the first two, because they are simply deafening. The third species featured is a lot quieter, but this was one of about five calls recorded. All of this action went on prior to what wastrels like me would call 'bedtime'. So, basically, last night I threw away three massive garden ticks...

1. Oystercatcher

This beaut is audible for well over a minute. You can hear it approach, get closer, attempt to pluck the mic from its bracket, and fade away into the distance. Mega!

2. Barn Owl

Seriously?! I had absolutely no idea that Barn Owls lived anywhere near my house. I do now! On the recording you can hear another call, 48 seconds after this one, faint and distant. Blown away is what I am!

3. Ringed Plover

This was trickier. It's fairly quiet, and I almost missed this, the first call of about five on the spectrogram, but on spotting it and playing it back my first thought was Ringed Plover, and it was gratifying to have it confirmed by Xeno Canto recordings (and spectrograms) as well as more experienced nocmig ears on the WhatsApp group. Ringed Plover over my house! Mad!

There was also a massive and delightful Moorhen event (plus a smaller, more distant one). This was only my third effort at this game, and I could not have asked for a more convincing set of results to persuade me to persevere. Yes, I know it's a bit fringe. Yes, there are all kinds of listing issues. Yes, you couldn't possibly do this, proper birding, moth-trapping, and have a life. But come on! Just listen to those recordings. Wow!!


  1. Ok, so I've finally succumbed...I know the type of recorder I could buy that is suitable for noc-migging, but how do you generate the spectrogram? Is there a package you can buy/download? Will it work on my crappy ol' laptop or do I need an all-singing, all-dancimng supercomputer? This is fascinating stuff, it really is. And yeah, that Oyk was impressive!

    1. Ha ha! It's sad isn't it? One by one, we're falling like ninepins. The programme for producing spectrograms is called Audacity. It's free, and works on my five year-old laptop. Google the website for loads of 'get you started' info, and then blunder headlong into a crazy, horribly addictive world...

  2. I'm going to stop reading your blog, you've got me thinking about night birds now - damn you. More fish blogs please!

    Not that I've considered this - much. But you said early on that you put the device in a bucket to increase/direct the signal. We have a BBQ come log burner for the garden that is about 20" across and dish shaped. Have you considered anything like this?

    1. Hopefully I'll get round to doing a barbel post, in a similar vein to the carp one. Another jaunt down Memory Lane...

      In the meantime, night birds! Sorry about that. I've moved on a step from 'recorder in bucket' and have added a cheap shotgun microphone to the kit, mounted a bracket for it on the garden cabin, and have it clipped up and pointing skywards. A parabolic mic is probably the best choice, but another choice is to keep both my kidneys.

  3. Welcome to the garden ticks you could have had club...

    Also welcome, tomorrow, to the absolutely shattered with huge bags under your eyes club.

    1. Barn Owl is gutting. What a mega garden bird that would be. Back to naked for a while I think, and switching off the recorder when I go to bed. Beats Netflix anyway...