Saturday, 1 May 2021

April Nocmig Summary

I didn't miss a single night in April, making it my first full month of nocmig. I've already blogged a couple of highlights, like the Ring Ouzel at 00:33 on 9th, and the amazing Stone-curlew at 00:54 on 24th, but there is more...

First though, here is April in spreadsheet form...

April nocmig totals

The last nine lines are species not recorded in March. Predictably they include migrant waders like Whimbrel, Dunlin and Common Sandpiper. But note also: Blackcap. Nocmig Blackcap? Really? I'll save that for another post. Rather I would like to mention Snipe. The bird which flew over calling at 20:31 on 13th was my first Snipe ever. The recording is a beaut...


That's so cool! I was dead chuffed to hear that coming through my headphones, and of course it was instantly identifiable. However, the following night, at 23:26, I got this...


I'll be honest, although it sounded vaguely familiar I had no idea what it was. The nocmig WhatsApp group soon sorted me out though. It's a long, long time since I've been anywhere that Snipe breed, where you hear their wonderful 'drumming'. Well, along with that amazing sound they also have a 'chipping' song which they perform from a handy perch. And that is what you can hear on my mystery recording - a singing Snipe! Bizarre or what?! It isn't the first time I've recorded a migrant wader in brief song - there was fantastic bit of Whimbrel song last year (not Curlew, as I wrote in the original blog post) - but for some reason I was ridiculously thrilled that a Snipe had burst into song as it flew over Bridport. Don't ask me why. All I can say is that when I get home from a pre-breakfast birding walk with little or nothing to show for it, sitting down to review the previous night's nocmig I am just as full of hopeful anticipation as I was at dawn, stepping out into the field. It's like going birding twice! And recordings like these are the reason why.

This next one was similarly a head-scratcher...


Any ideas? I was completely stumped. Uttered at 02:23 on April 26th; a clear, sharp and distinctive call, but a total mystery to me. It is in fact a Common Sandpiper. As far as I know, I have not previously heard a Common Sand do that, but I have now. Thanks to nocmig.

Finally, here are the nocturnal calls of a lone male Common Scoter as it flies over my nocmig tackle at 01:20 on the last day of the month...


Despite now being used to the strange notion that birds I would never in a million years expect to see from my inland garden do indeed fly over at night occasionally, I still get a proper buzz from recordings like that. Long may that be so...

2 comments:

  1. A nice blog, noc mig is wonderful glad I took up, though I still find it clinch the calls that I think I know or would know out in the field. I can not picture the calls like that as I see them in my head flying in the pitch black. Very good learning curve though. Never thought of doing every day

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Martin. Agreed, it's a great learning curve, and so far I've thoroughly enjoyed it. Without doubt my knowledge of bird vocalisations is much better than it was, even though it feels like I've barely scratched the surface...

      As the spreadsheet demonstrates, through April I averaged just over 4 'call events' (for want of a better term) per night. One night I got zero. Another I got a Coot, a flock of Dunlin and a Stone-curlew! That's why I do every night if possible.

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