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Calm Before The Storm

Summer is coming to a close with wet and windy breaking up whats left of those long drawn out days. It’s probably a little early to talk about autumn, but for me, it feels so far away from spring already. I was reminded of this while watching one of my Nightjar chicks fledging this week, both of which are nowhere to be found now, so I suspect they’ve travelled to more suitable feeding grounds while preparing for the big fly back to Africa!. Here’s a pic of the Chick before fledging. I think their first clutch failed, or they were just very late breeding this year. The parents are the two birds photographed in my last blog here. Look how short his/her bill is! Pretty adorable.

While we’re on Migration. I was sent this by my friend Craig last week. For those that wonder how these birds migrate over vast oceans, well, sometimes they do need a rest! And what better way todo that than on a big quiet ship deck? Check these birds out! Some really rare stuff too but the best by far is at the end.

Tomorrow we’re due for another storm, and today you could feel the calm before the storm as it was beautiful and really low wind! It’s not very often that I can take the windshield off around the coastline but conditions were perfect today so I tried to capture a Long-winged Conehead with the rising ride in the background.
As our Coneheads reach to almost the limitations of our hearing range, I’ve slowed the recording down slightly so you can appreciate the quality more but it’s not too slow that you can’t hear the sea background.

Long-wined Conehead

GWT Magor Marsh

The gwent levels never fails to impress me. The sheer diversity there that thrive on both manmade and natural habitats is outstanding. Todays selection of photos only scratch the surface of the things I saw on my short trip after work to magor. Finding a Glow Worm larvae at the end of the wooden pathway was a nice reminder of what happens after dark. A late night trip in the next couple weeks might be on the cards to spot any lights in the darkness. The wind was up which meant the butterflies were down and I managed to get close enough to shoot a few orange tip butterflies with the Macro lens. The Emperor Moth was taken in St Brides thanks to Mel Oxford who was lucky enough to have one sat on his lawn! What a beautiful Moth! We have a great selection of beautiful moths in the Uk and it’s on my list this year to make a trap to record the species in my area. It will be a great way to expand my knowledge, learn more species and add to the never ending list of records that I have to send off. 

Cricket & Grasshopper Sound

I've been looking forward to recording some Cricket / Grasshoppers again this year and I finally hit jackpot with todays low wind (but lack of sun). It was just about warm enough for the Grasshoppers to be singing. I had trouble uploading the Roesel's Bush Cricket to Soundcloud because no matter what format, frame rate / bit rate I upload it in, Soundcloud kills the quality by compressing the file which looses definition in the most vital frequency, and that just so happens to be the frequency that Roesel's sits in, right at the top around 20,000hz. This is also the reason why many people can't hear a Roesel's, because they've lost that frequency in adulthood (nice way of saying you're getting old). I'm lucky to still have these frequencies and I hope that I keep hold of them for as long as I can because they are so rich and much is to be learned about the sounds of nature. To combat this hearing problem, I've slowed down the recordings straight after the original so you can hear how complex and fast it is, even ten times slower than the original recording. The last part of the recording below is (I think) a Meadow Grasshopper, which slowed down actually reveals the individual scrapes that actually produces the overall tone of the song. It's even more amazing when you hear it in slo-mo! 

Here is the recording of the Roesel's untouched. As you can hear (or not).. the quality has been lost to compression. 

Telinga Microphone Test

Trying out my new Telinga Microphone today for the first time in the field, really loving the warm tones in the mid-high range which is exactly what I need it for. That said, the microphone records really flat accurate lows/low mids so for those quiet background days I'll be happy to leave recordings unfiltered. Some really interesting sounds happening in this mashup, firstly starting off with what I think is a Meadow Grasshopper, secondly a sound I've never experienced before but it's actually 2 Hoverflies having a 'sing off' with their wings. I assume that this is a way of showing a female how strong their wings by demonstrating how high pitched the sound they can make. This is for sure,Natural selection in its subtleties. Lastly, a dark bush cricket with an unidentified 'cricket' sound which I'll be looking into asap.

In other news, we had such an amazing flyby from a Juvi Goshawk today! Also had a Migrant Hawker in the same area along with plenty of Grasshopper activity. Stopped off at Llandegfedd in the evening to see 3 Kingfishers hunting on the pump stream and starting to get flocks of Goosander coming into the bay late in the evening just before it gets dark