Please take the time to listen with a decent pair of headphones if you have a pair. Or better still, a surround sound system? lol. Apple iPods will do... With all the troubles that our Gwent Levels are having at the moment, I thought I'd put together a short Soundscape that was taken yesterday in just 3 hours after work. It was a glorious evening and I wanted to try and capture every aspect of what makes our levels special. You'll hear the iconic Sedge Warbler at the start of the recording with several species in the background like Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Cuckoo and also people talking in the background (which I wanted to include to show that people regularly use the levels as an escape). The middle part is hard to take in at once but believe me, all this was happening at the same time! The sound of the waves with Whimbrel in the background, a Bittern Booming and a ship about a mile out giving a drone undertone to the hole soundscape. It ends with the tranquil bubbling song of the Cuckoo and many other species singing their evening chorus as the sun went down.
Sound is so important, and a factor that many of us overlook due to our often loud, industrial busy lives. That ship in the distance was over a mile away, yet due to the flat levels, sound carries for miles. Development in itself, especially in areas like the levels that are designated by the Government as protected for its rich biodiversity, will have massive implications both nationally and natively in a world where nature comes second behind man. We also have to think about the impacts that sound will have on our environment. The story of the Blackbird having to physically raise their volume and pitch to overcome traffic noise is a good example of the strain that industrial life can give to our wildlife. I can't imagine what it must be like for wildlife that require their ears to hunt for their prey. It's no wonder all of our species of Owl aren't doing so well anymore.
With all this in mind, I'm strongly against the route chosen by the Welsh Government for the new M4 relief road. There were much more convenient and cheaper options to take and the outcome of this stupid decision goes to show where our Governments priorities lie.
Below are some photographs from the day of a Whimbrel, Sedge Warbler and Common Whitethroat.