June 19, 2019


For anyone watching  'Springwatch'  over the past few weeks, you will have heard them discussing remote monitoring devices.  Last year  they concentrated on remote mammal  cameras, this year they have concentrated on audio. As usual the BBC have focused on the expensive top end of the range, but for many years as regular readers will have noticed  I have been achieving very good recordings with more modest equipment.
Samples here   available here     https://m.soundcloud.com/rarehare

Originally I started collecting  bird song for my own entertainment using a cheap Olympus dictation machine.  They were audible but hardly did the birds any justice on replay.

I set up 3     Audiomoth    recording units  around the Wirral,  unfortunately the one sited at RSPB Burton Point had the micro card removed .  As it was a high grade camera micro card I suspect a bird photographer.  This theft upsets me more than it should because as a group, I thought birders would be respectful of  another bird enthusiasts research.

There still lingers  essences of  an evening chorus as well as a dawn chorus, but more spread out as birds go to roost at different times. In the mornings most birds awake  on or around the first dawn glow.

Despite a week of continuous rain the robin and blackbird have never stopped for breathe.  Each taking a turn as the other pauses.

 The robin just sang and sang and sang  and the Blackbird trill phoned all over his patch of territory which is very clearly defined by trees and aerials.   
As an ambulance passed by he made an excellent reproduction of the siren.  But the songs  are nearly over. The Robin has already lost his tail so the moult has started.  The 6 week grand silence is about to begin.   So now maybe  good time to go through the hours of recordings collected over the past few months.

Colour of rain
Juvenile birds  have progressed from eating 3  fat balls a day  to handling bird seed now and the goldfinches appear  to have started to leave so pressure on the nyger seed is less..  This will be great relief to the purse all round

I have also been fortunate to be part of an extensive Phase 1 Habitiat Survey over more than 100ha of farmland in Wirral over the past few weeks.

Many old field boundaries and ponds (previously Marl Pits) that are shown on 1840's Tithe Maps are still in evidence today.  The old field boundaries comprise : woody species - rich hedgerows containing large mature pendunculate oaks some of which scored highly suitable  for bat roosts.   

Native Bluebell were also recorded as common in some hedgerows and small broadleaved woodland.   This turned out to have been a very enlightening and encouraging rediscovery of hidden areas in Wirral.

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