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Telinga

Local Spring Arrivals

Signs of spring are growing every day and today was no exception with Yellowhammer in full song back on territory and Curlew returning to some of their upland breeding grounds. Today marks the first day of the year for Upland Curlews (for me) and I've not heard of any other recordings in Gwent of such activity yet so think this may be the first record. I visited several favourite spots locally today and all of which were upland / moorland. Each day I grow to love our uplands more and more as I realise just how important the habitat is for the majority of our wildlife. I went out with an open mind today prepared to take whatever was presented to me and I was pleasantly surprised to find Yellowhammer back on territory singing their hearts out. Spring has already started for some birds. My local Long-tailed Tits are already starting to build their nest from spiders webs, lichens and feathers. 

I've spoken about the Yellowhammer Dialects project before so I won't go into too much detail but if you're interested in sound recording and have any records, even phone recordings, of a Yellowhammer, please contribute to this incredible project - http://www.yellowhammers.net/

I'm the only one that has submitted recordings in South Wales so records here a looking thin despite our abundance of Yellowhammers. It is important to record birdsong for this very reason so please have a look at their website as Pavel is doing a great Job. 

It was my brother that spotted this Curlew flying in from Llandegfedd direction and immediately after he saw it the bird gave off that iconic call giving its identity away. It later on landed in a cultivated field and later flew further north. 

Great Spotted Woodpecker Extended

For those who may be interested, Great Spotted Woodpeckers have the ability to hit at the rate between 10-40 SPS (Strikes Per Second) it's this fact that made me curious as to how many strikes our GSW actually manged during one single session, so I studied the recording in a sonograph to find out. Here are the results below: 

Turns out that the most this particular guy hit was around 16 SPS but this was during the middle of the day when they aren't as persistent. It will be interesting to catch them out their best, just to see how many hits they can really manage in 1 second. I think this guy/girl may have been holding back a bit. 13 hits was the average number. It's said that a single male can hit atleast 600 times a day if they haven't found a female yet and only 200 hits if they have found a female. Either way, there will be lots of noise out in the woods leading up to spring so get out there and listen to it for yourself! It's incredible. 

Sound Recording Feature

Sound Recording Feature

While I missed the most of todays Sunny dry weather fixing my shed, I did manage to get out in the evening just before it hammered down with rain yet again. During this time, many birds were singing so I left the Camera at home and spent some time listening to the landscape through a parabolic dish. If you've never had the chance to use a parabola before, you're more than happy to try mine. It's an amazing experience to have 'super ears' that amplifies sounds you never new were even there. It extends your reach meaning you can find individual species much quicker when they are audible. If you remember in my previous blogs I mentioned trying to get a recording of the Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming and i'm happy to say that I succeeded in getting some recordings of that today. Took a while to find out what branches they were preferring to drum on and took even longer for them to drum with me standing under the tree. Eventually however, they did come around to me and I got this: 

 

After spending time with the Woodpeckers, night was drawing in and with it the evening Chorus began which was surprisingly full for this time of year! I heard Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Bluetit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin, Marsh Tit, and finally Song Thrush! one of my all time personal favourites. Below isn't the best recording for their classic mimicry but it was the most clear recording I could get as most of my other recordings had planes flying overhead.. I don't think people realise just how much sound pollution there is.. Put my headphones on with my Telinga Microphone and you'll realise just how noisy we really are on this planet. 

Winter Robin Song

Winter Robin Song

Finally got around to recording the Winter Robin Song! Not ideal recording conditions with all this wind and rain but I just about managed to get some clear isolated recordings while hiding out of the wind beneath some thick bushes. You'll hear plenty of other Robins singing in the background back and forth this guy so I was spoiled with choice a bit. In the last section when the wind picks up, you'll also hear that this Robin has mimicked a couple phrases from either a Blue Tit or Great Tit. 

Llandegfedd Cricket Recordings

Early morning at Llandegfedd and it truly felt like spring again! Dawn Chorus was beautiful, albeit filled with mainly Robin's and Wrens but a surprised Chiffchaff also sang for a while which really made me feel good! 

Once the morning dew burnt off and my feet dried out, the Crickets weren't far behind on the chorus. Though, I didn't have it all that easy today as the water pump was on all day which made it really hard to get the 20000hz Roesel's Bush Cricket quite the way I wanted to. 

Lots of pictures today but also a small treat for you in the form a recordings! 
If you can hear them of course.. because I learned something new today, and that is, the Roesel's Bush Cricket produces frequencies well into the 20000hz range which most people cannot even hear. SO! For you, I've slowed some of the recordings down for you which brought even more coolness out of the recordings as you can actually hear the individual scrapes of the hind legs of the cricket.- Especially on the Long-winged Conehead. Enjoy

Rycote meets Telinga (DIY Sewing Skills)

This week I've been in conversation with Rycote - if you haven't heard of them, next time you watch the tennis on TV, check out the labeles on all of the microphones setup around the court. Those big fluffy 'dead cats' are products that Rycote specialise in. I started buying Rycote windshields and also microphone handles a couple years ago and also purchase my first 'blimp' modular system that completely surrounded my shotgun microphone and they worked so well! The wind noise was drastically improved. So much so, that I had a big shock when trying out my new Microphone from a company called Telinga. You may have heard already but I've recently made the jump to a Parabolic Dish setup instead of a shotgun Microphone. The dish enables me to record at much greater distances and with natural amplification rather than digital gain. This will get me better recordings theoritcally in conjunction with a higher quality mic. The problem is though, a dish also gathers a lot of wind which of course isn't good for the microphone. 

In light of this, I contacted Rycote to see if they had a product that could improve the wind reduction with this setup. They didn't actually have anything manufactured other than what I had already purchased (small fleece) but instead of leaving me completely helpless they were kind enough to send me a large off cut piece of fur!! 

They even sent it special delivery for free! I was very impressed and I've already put the fur to good use. I'm certainly not brilliant at sewing but check this out :)  

 

(Folded twice over)

(Folded twice over)

Cut 3 inches around dish size  

Cut 3 inches around dish size  

Stitched the fur to my existing fleece  

Stitched the fur to my existing fleece  

Folded and stitched the edges for a nice seamless edging  

Folded and stitched the edges for a nice seamless edging  

Finished!  

Finished!  

I'm really looking forward to trying it out in the field so see how much the fur reduces the wind noise. I'm sure it will make a difference and I'm hoping that it is enough to get me through a winters birding on the mountain tops.  

Massive thanks again Rycote and Telinga for their great customer service.  

I even have enough fur to make one for my smaller compact dish which I'll also use for grasshopper and crickets in the summer. 

many thanks 

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

Rhythm of Birdsong Reboot

While stuck indoors ill this week, I spent a lot of hours catching up behind the computer. In doing so I've re-designed by 'Rhythm of Birdsong' project website and also designed a new logo for the project. (I think I'll be re-designing my own logo after the time I spent on this one). 

Since graduation I have purposely put ROB on a back burner so that I could spend my time developing other aspects of my carreer in order to gain myself a Job in conservation. Well, I'm happy to say at this point that I have got myself a part-time Job in conservation: teaching students how to record wildlife for the Gwent Wildlife Trust. 

While teaching others how to record birds, it has reminded me how much of a passion I have for sound. It is that reason that I've decided to bring ROB back and my commitment is supported by a heavy investement! I'll be investing in a new Telinga Parabolic Microphone setup that is known world wide for its high quality microphones/parabola's.

Telinga Microphone