Monday, 30 August 2021

Wired For Sound

Yesterday morning was the first time this year that I've gone birding with the digital recorder running. Unfortunately I still had it switched to 'external mic' as per nocmig set-up, so actually recorded nothing, but my intention was good. No such schoolboy errors this morning, and I got a couple of corkers...


That was Tree Pipit followed by Yellow Wagtail. The wagtail went over within a minute of switching the recorder on, but despite its loudness I couldn't actually see it! The Tree Pipit calls were recorded later, when two birds flew over together. Out of curiosity I went through the whole recording, nocmig-style, to see if I'd missed anything in the field. Some of it was uncheckable due to the massive amount of noise I make just walking about - shingle is deafening - but I did find two Tree Pipit calls which I hadn't heard at the time, and what sounded like a small flock of Yellow Wags.

It really is satisfying to capture a decent sound recording of birds you see in the field, but there is another reason I like the idea of using a live recorder...

Many years ago I found a Dotterel on Beer Head, and my first views - just after first light - were of a plover circling the Head, calling. I couldn't place the call and, when the bird went out of view, found myself stumped. I put it down to odd Golden Plover. Thankfully it had landed close by, and was waiting for me to stumble across it a little later. In situations of that kind I see my recorder as the audio version of a camera, ready to capture the event in a way that leads to the solid identification of a bird which might otherwise slip through the net. Hopefully I'll one day get the chance to test it out in that fashion.

Apart from that single Yellow Wag (or flock?) that I didn't see, I can add flocks of 19 and 11; also 8 Wheatears, an alba wagtail and the 2 Tree Pipits. That was it. Apart from a few [probably] local Whitethroats, not a single warbler. The bushes were anything but leaping.

A long walk this afternoon produced a few bits and pieces, but it was very slow going. Best were singles of Hobby, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat and Sedge Warbler...

Spotted Flycatcher at Cogden

Makes a change from 'Wheatear on the beach' pics

Whinchat beside the West Bex Mere field

Almost a really pleasing shot. Curse that blurry reed

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