#nocmig

I've got an itch that I need to scratch. Something that is missing from my ornithological life. And that is getting involved with this 'nocturnal migration' malarkey. There are a band of brothers (and no doubt some sisters) who are sticking microphones out in their gardens overnight and recording the sounds of the night-time that would otherwise go undetected. It sounds like fun - it sounds like the sort of thing that I'd get involved in. I've investigated what is needed to get started, weighed up the pros and cons and... well, I haven't quite taken that final leap into the purchase of a recorder, a microphone, and the download of software - but we are getting near to that point. What's not to like, sifting through several hours worth of recording and separating the car alarms, aircraft and foxes from the calls of migrating waders, Coots and Common Scoters?

I love nocturnal bird calls. I've spent an April night sitting on the moat at Dungeness and listened entranced to a stream of waders going overhead. My own inland garden here in Surrey has produced Bar-tailed Godwits, Ringed Plover, Moorhen and Common Sandpiper in the dark while checking the moth trap. There is potential...

Comments

Can you let me know if you do it? I've been thinking about it, but being rather short on time it is probably just one more thing I shouldn't go near.
Steve Gale said…
Will do Jono. I've been sitting out in the garden for the odd half-hour recently, before mid-night, but apart from brushing up on my astronomy (when it's clear) have heard nowt.
Arjun Dutta said…
I'm quite keen on it too; I'm just pretty sure I'll get very little!
Gavin Haig said…
Yes, I'm intrigued to see how you get on if you take the plunge Steve. As Jono says, it sounds like a lot of fun, but maybe a bit time-consuming. Like a load of other stuff I like...
Derek Faulkner said…
Something that I've not heard of before, or has crossed my mind. It does seem a lot of work the next morning to sift through a lot of night time noises to get the odd bird calls. The gradual start to the dawn chorus might be fun, as like an orchestra gradually tuning up, it becomes the full on thing.
Ric said…
Steve, I've heard bird noises at night which had me scratching my head as to what they were.
When night fishing as a kid I remember being started by what appeared to be screaming pterodactyls flying about in the dark. Grey Herons of course.
In New Zealand at my mother in laws place (Rodney District), for twenty odd years, most nights after dark I heard some unknown birds calling over head. I finally discovered they were Cook's Petrels taking a short cut over land from the Tasmin sea to where they breed on Little Barrier Island.
I found I could look up and see them being illuminated by the lights of Warkworth. This was due to their flight path channeling them right through a gap in the hills, right over the town.
I felt at those moments to be party to an incredible secret.


Steve Gale said…
Well this could fill in all your down-time due to that groin injury Gav!
Steve Gale said…
You'd be surprised Arjun...
Steve Gale said…
A whole night can be processed in an hour apparently
Steve Gale said…
Now that Petrel experience sounds almost supernatural Ric. I felt the same feeling of being party to an incredible secret when I was shown, by spot light, an flower in the Malaysian rainforest canopy that only opens at night to allow its pollinator - bats - to come and feed. Spine tingling!
Stewart said…
I just asked Mark Thomas about it on Twitter! Living on the coast here we get loads of calls overnight with no noise pollution either. I am interested to see what the investment would be...
Steve Gale said…
Has Barred Warbler got a special nocturnal call Stewart? You'd need to be prepared!!
Stewart said…
I here some odd calls Steve. One in particular I hear annually and have no idea what the hell it is. A bit like a Godwit or Rail !
Steve Gale said…
Have you checked the flight call of Moorhen on Xeno Canto Stewart?

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