Friday, 10 April 2020

Pandora's Box?

This lockdown thing is quite evidently encouraging many of us birders, naturalists, etc, down paths we never saw ourselves taking. In my case, it's got me garden listing. And I'm pleased to say that my #BWKM0 list crept up to 41 today, via Kestrel and Mallard. But keeping a garden list is something which probably the majority of birders do anyway. Hardly a big deal then.

But what is a big deal, and as far as I am concerned has prompted a paradigm shift in birding behaviour, is nocmig. To be honest I had rarely given much thought to what might fly over my garden after dark, and I certainly never envisaged myself sitting outside in multiple layers, ears cocked in anticipation. But that's what I've been doing. And following hours of nothing, on Monday night a Moorhen flew over calling. Wow! And last night two did likewise. And I caught one of them on a basic voice-recording app on my phone, and was pathetically chuffed.

Anyway, even before this cornucopia of nocturnal avian riches, I had already taken the plunge and ordered a proper digital recorder. It arrived today...

Oh dear... 

It was not cheap, but my philosophy with kit like this is to buy something decent if I can, knowing there will always be a market for it second-hand if my enthusiasm proves to have overreached itself.

I am now at the bottom of yet another steep learning curve. My intention (at least initially) is to use it in harness with my ears. I would equate it with a birder using a camera. Identifying a tricky bird from images later is perfectly okay with me, and on that basis I would happily 'tick' anything I recorded and heard, even if I couldn't ID it at the time. Of course there are other scenarios re nocmig, but I'm steering well clear of them just at the moment...

Naturally I have carefully retained the packaging. Just in case.

PS. It is 20:55. Guess where I am sitting right this second.

10 comments:

  1. Best of luck with it buddy, you may even entice me into a similar purchase if it works out for you!

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    1. Thanks Seth. I'm looking forward to it, if a little intimidated by all the new stuff I'm gonna have to learn!

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  2. Looks interesting Gav. Are you going to invest in a Parabolic Dish as well?

    If I went down the same route, I'd get the dish and aim it straight up. The reason is that according to the information I've come across. Migrating birds do so at altitudes so high that we would be hard pressed to hear them, even if they were calling.

    Once on Cairngorm I could hear wild geese high up. Looking up I could see nothing. With optics, I could make out tiny 'V's.

    Reminds me of that day you told me about at Staines, where during one migration phase, repeated showers had birds dropping in out of nowhere.

    I always suspected the birds where flying over about a mile up out of sight. It just took a soaking to bring them down.

    Possibilities. I'd get a dish.

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    1. Ric, a decent parabolic set-up is beyond my budget. Plus, it smacks of full-on commitment, and I'm definitely just a dabbler at the moment.

      Rain certainly brings birds down. Seen it countless times, and it was undoubtedly responsible for my best (and most unexpected) garden bird. Of which I will say no more right now... :-)

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  3. Can you use it to spy on the neighbours? :o)

    Seriously, are they any good for bat calls? I have a basic bat detector which is fun to use but so many calls are in a similar band width they can be difficult to identify, you have to manually 'sweep' the band width too. They are all individual to species like birds, but there's not much of a data base online.

    I also have a bat cave, bat mobile and a bat copter but please keep my identity a secret ;o)

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    1. Well Bruce, I'm not sure it will do bats. I googled bat detector (because I know almost nothing about them) and the many examples offered all seemed to be dedicated units, ie, for detecting just bats.

      Neighbours? Yes, I reckon it'll do neighbours okay... :-)

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  4. Hi Gavin - Great to hear that you have just started Nocmig - I also have just started! I very much look forward to seeing your results!

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    1. Excellent! I reckon this virus is going to be responsible for a host of newbie nocmiggers. I haven't actually started yet. Awaiting an SD card, and haven't even begun to play with Audacity yet. It might take me a while...

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  5. Give me a shout if you need any help with Audacity, as I am learning too, but the Nocmig website is an essential read!

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    1. Thanks Chris. Yes, I've found the Nocmig site, and will probably be digging into it properly next week sometime...

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