Nature is the place where the birds fly around uncooked

Wildlife Recordings


Cat 'Grey Boy' with Hiccups

Cat .Grey Boy' with Hiccups
by StowfordNature
  Grey Boy prowl Grey Boy up tree
  Grey Boy is a Maine Coon cat as large as any domestic cat can get, and he thinks he is a human being. He claims the right to my bed and when I try to evict him, he goes limp like an anti-nuclear protestor. It's not easy to pick up an uncooperative cat especially in my state of health.

Anyway, he's lying on my bed, purring as usual, and I realise he's got the hiccups. I place my Tascam DR-100 next to him and this is what I got.

Tascam DR-100, built in mics, edited.


A woodpecker testing garden trees

Woodpecker testing trees
by StowfordNature
  Garden side tent I was tucked up soundly at six in the morning letting the recorder do the work and when I got around to logging the recordings it was quite a nice dawn chorus but I've got lots of those. This extract starts with a nesting pigeon in the overgrown Leylandii hedge behind the mics. Here we go again, muttering jackdaws, the neighbour's sheep, yet another noisy wren - and then then DRRRRR right in front of the garden mics.

"Garden" is a bit of an exotic description. You can just see the corner of the house roof between the trees. It's all on a steep slope with a dozen large trees and lots of impenetrable wildlife habitat, but the deer can get though it.

So could this woodpecker. It tried out one tree after another and I've made guesses which tree it was bashing. Then it was gone as quickly as it arrived. There is a sequel however, as I discovered two days later ...

Recorded on MKH-416's in a protective tent into an SQN mixer and a Tascam DR-100.


A woodpecker on the Big Beech

Woodpecker on Big Beech
by StowfordNature
  Garden side tent Probably the same woodpecker, but this time it found a tree it likes which is the Big Beach which towers over the entrance. I came back in the car and it was up there, drumming as I drove past. I thought of dashing out with another pair of mics but I had started the recorder before I went to the shops just in case. I coundn't believe how loud it was but it was another case of leaving well alone.

This tree is the other side of the garden, the other side of the house, and across the car park about 60metres away (200 old feet) and it was loud to the ears not just to the mic. The woodpecker had found its favourite tree. I had heard it many times higher up the hill the other side of impenetrable brambles and gorse and I had given up hope of getting closer.

The Big beech is probably 200 years old. It is not just growing on the steep bank, it is the bank. It was cut down as a sapling and now has three large trunks. Every Autumn it sheds a load of Beech mast and there is plenty of small wildlife to eat the nuts. I sat under the tree for a while watching for the woodpecker but it stayed on the opposite side as they do, so no pic.

I liked the distance effect and it shows what I call the "fetch" of the Sennheiser mics.

Recorded on MKH-416's in a protective tent into an SQN mixer and a Tascam DR-100.


A Nuthatch in the garden trees

Nuthatch in Garden
by StowfordNature
  I've heard this nuthatch many times, but not as close. The garden has 14 mature trees in it and the nuthatch is having a rummage around.

Recorded on MKH-416's in a protective tent into an SQN mixer and a Tascam DR-100.


The Thrush and Pheasant

The Thrush and Pheasant
by StowfordNature
  Sounds like an English pub name, but this recording was a happy find in lots of boring stuff.

The dawn chorus has been a bit disappointing so far and the evening chorus has been dominated by a wren, sometimes singing loudly in tune but off-mic which was annoying. I've got the recorder in my bedroom and have hours and hours of dull birdsong recordings until a cat woke me up in the early morning and I pushed the button in case something came up and went back to sleep.

In over three hours of recording I found this sound essay with a song thrush and an inevitable pheasant.

Recorded on a pair of MKH-416's at about 45° looking out and up through the tent insect screen.

  This is the new mic tent position looking at the Triple Oak and into the top of Pig Wood.
  Triple Oak tent


February 2012 and a pheasant with his blood up

DR1000 1762=00=50=00pheasant
by StowfordNature
  This was the first outing in 2012 for the Stowford mics. The winter had been wet and windy and the mics had been taken in from their recording tents for dry storage. Nothing much was happening but I left the recorder running just in case. Then the Pig Wood Pheasant opened up.

I've never heard a pheasant call as long. There are plenty of pheasants around, some clearing up anything I left out on the bird table for the passerines. They are a noisy lot celebrating their survival from the neighbour's guns and disrupt many a recording of more subtle birdsong, but this one stood in front of the mic and yelled. And kept yelling.

He was obviously claiming Pig Wood as his and you can just hear another cock pheasant in the distance trying to get a crow in edgewise, especially near the end, but this one wasn't having any nonsense. It appeared that he hadn't collected any female pheasants, or at least none prepared to open their beaks.

Recorded on a pair of MKH-416's at about 45°. The record level was set low but not low enough for this yeller and it sometimes hit the limiter. I tried usijg compressioon, but it sounded naff. You'll just have to listen hard for the other birds.


The last dawn chorus in May 2011

Last Dawn Chorus in May
by StowfordNature
  Garden mic tent Before sunrise at half past four and after rain in the night there are still some drips. The sun will be up in half an hour but the birds are up now. I'm tucked up in bed at the other end of 100 metre cables. The mics are pointed towards the side of the garden facing a steep shrub bank which has become overgrown with forsythia which make good nesting sites including goldcrest nests.

The garden has 14 mature trees in it. The big tree to the left is a 45 metre (150 foot) eucalyptus and you can just see the cottage roof through the tree on the right.

The lead singer is a robin, with backing from two rival blackbirds, Intel, who uses that annoying jingle and Squeak who often ends his phrases in a high pitch. In the far distance is the third local blackbird Titiboo who calls that twice at the start of a phrase. Squeak learned to copy him but he titiboos at the end of a phrase. At the moment, Titiboo has been relegated to the woodland where Intel used to be. Hear him in "A Spring evening on Badger Hill".

Recorded on an experimental rig into the XLR's on a Tascam DR-100.


Gentle April Dawn Chorus in Pig Wood

DR1000 0697dawn
by StowfordNature
  April has had some very noisy dawn choruses and I turned my stereo pair of mics away from the main centres of action deep in Pig Wood to see what else was going on and also to try to track down where an elusive woodpecker was drumming.

This little passage hardly needed topping and tailing as it was a burst of activity after the main shouting had died down. Some birds, including the two rival blackbirds, were behind the mics and don't form a clear stereo image but for once they don't dominate the scene. The woodpecker was far down in Pig Wood and this was about 50 metres from the top of Pig Wood, hence the reverberation on the singing.

Recorded on a pair of MHK-416 mics at the end of 150 metre cables in a tent to keep them weatherproof looking out of the insect screen and through an SQN to a Tascam DR-1.


Gentle April Dawn Chorus Slowed Down

DR1000 0697dawnslowed
by StowfordNature
  We miss so much in a bird call because it is too fast for us to follow. I like to slow some recordings down, in this case to a quarter speed, to reveal the intricacies of the call - more like what another bird would hear.


Hen Pheasant Subsong

by StowfordNature
  Garden mic tent I got this one morning in April. The stereo mics were set pointing at my garden for the dawn chorus and when it quietened down, along came this hen pheasant muttering a subsong to itself as it passed by. It wandered to the back of the mics then wandered off to come back half a minute later and mooch past the mics once more.

The cock pheasant was a surprise but was ignored by the hen. The last of the dawn chorus can be heard in the background.

The photo shows the mic tent at the back of the garden - more like an arboretum - next to my vegetable and fruit plot. The hen pheasant walked up the grass right in front of the tent and also went behind it.

  Recorded on a pair of MHK-416 mics in the tent to keep them weatherproof looking out of the insect screen and through an SQN mixer to a Tascam DR-1.


April Dawn Chorus in Pig Wood

DR1000 0536aprildawn
by StowfordNature
  Pig Wood is my small Nature Reserve which is listed as a County Wildlife Site for botany. It's quite full of avian life as well as you can hear in this excerpt from the dawn chorus which goes on for over an hour. The predominant background sound is the steep tumbling stream which runs the length of the wood roughly in line with the middle of this pic in a deep rocky V.
  Recorded on a non-matching pair of mics which match surprisingly well. They are Sennheisers, an MKH-815 and an MKH-816 on 150 metre cables in a tent for weather protection looking out of the insect screen and recorded directly into a Tascam DR-100.


A Bee, Sheep, and two Alarmed Birds

by StowfordNature
  I don't know what caused the alarm and it wasn't the neighbour's sheep, but the two birds weren't happy with one exiting right past the mics.

Recorded on a pair of MKH-416 mics in Rycote windgags at 60 in a tent for weather protection, on long cables to an SQN mixer into a Tascam DR-1.


A Spring evening on Badger Hill with a blackbird and company

by StowfordNature
  I'm told that the "honk honk" bird is a raven, but it doesn't hang out with the other ravens which don't seem to like it. There are two of them in the valley and they don't make any other sounds, The pheasant is making both lots of wing noise, and the raven circles and departs while the blackbird sings on. Meanwhile, blackbird "Intel" demonstrates how he got his name.

Recorded on a pair of MKH-416 mics in Rycote windgags at 60 in a tent for weather protection, SQN mixer into a Tascam DR-1.


A Windy Spring afternoon on Badger Hill with two great tits singing at each other

  Rival great tits trying to out-sing each other as the wind gusts through the trees.

Recorded on a pair of MKH-416 mics in Rycote windgags at 60 in a tent for weather protection, SQN mixer into a Tascam DR-1.


Dusk in Pig Wood Nature Reserve. A distant barn owl, then a distant tawny, a close barn owl and pheasant.

DR1000 0437barnowlpheasant
by StowfordNature
  I don't often see barn owls here, but it is nice to have confirmation that they are around. A very distant barn owl, then close plus a female tawny owl and a pheasant. I'm undecided whether the faint barn owl is a different bird, but the stereo placing sounds different.
This recording has been fairly strongly enhanced, but the stream noise is a stream, not artifacts.

Recorded on a pair of MKH-816 mics in Rycote windgags at 30 in a tent for weather protection, direct feed into a Tascam DR-100.


Big wimp Maine Coon Cat "Orange" doesn't want to push through long grass but wants a cuddle.

by StowfordNature
  Trying out a new recorder with a very directional mic, I hear "Orange", a cat with a pedigree as long as your arm but a total wimp calling to me from about 30 metres away. He wants me to go to him rather than to push through the long grass and demonstrates his vocabulary. The low yowl is a "come to me" call.

Recorded mono on a Sennheiser MKH-816 mic originally pointed up a tree trying out a new Tascam DR-1. You can hear the separation as I lower the mic.


Ravens and a mystery bird.

DR1000 0358=45=00honkraven by StowfordNature
  I've heard this mystery sound on a number of occasions in the distance and once heard two or possible three individuals making the call in distant woods. To my ear it sounds goose-like and very different from any sound I have heard ravens make.

A raven replies to the first two mystery calls and then it and others get agitated and fly off. Any identifications or ideas would be appreciated.

Recorded on a Sennheiser MKH-416 stereo pair on the edge of woodland.


Testing two very different mic rigs with a simultanous recording


Rig 1

Dawn Test Rig 1
by StowfordNature

Rig 2

Dawn Test Rig 2
by StowfordNature

Testing the stereo image of the two rigs by shaking peanuts.


Rig 1

Stereo Test Rig 1
by StowfordNature

Rig 2

Stereo Test Rig 2
by StowfordNature
  The above tests were comparing an experimental mic rig with one I had been using for some time. They produce different sounds and I would like comments good or bad on the recordings.

The setup is as in the photo below in "Hen Pheasant Subsong" looking at my garden which has many mature trees. The background sounds are more distant birds, wind, and country atmosphere.

I test the stereo images by walking past in a straight line shaking a canister of peanuts. The double shake is approximately at the mid point. I start approximately 15 metres (yards) to one side and pass at about 3 metres. The stereo object width is obviously different. Both runs were recorded simultaneously.


Puzzle 1 Songthrush and Other Birds

Songthrush and Other Birds by Stowford

What has been done to this recording?

A Spring Songthrush singing heartily but there is a puzzle to crack in this track. Any guesses? A clue for sharp ears is before then mid point. Listen carefully to the stereo image.

Another clue is that I made a blunder while recording this. The pair of MKH-416 mics were in a mic tent as a semi-permanent rig and I hastily started the recorder, a Tascam DR-100, when I heard the thrush.


Puzzle 2 Wren and Stream stereo check

Wren and Stream stereo check by Stowford

What has been done to this recording?

I recorded this in the Summer of 2011 in Pig Wood where I live.

There is something fundamentally wrong with this stereo track. Can you spot it?


Audacity 1.3 Equalisation Curves.

right click and save as:

Add these into the Audacity XML file called "EQCurves"
In Windows 7 this is probably in:
Please attribute to David Brinicombe.

David Brinicombe
tel:  +44 (0)1769 560 392
email addy
(You'll have to type this in to avoid spammers copying it)

Creative Commons Licence
This work by Stowford Nature is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Last updated April 2011