Alan Dalton post's birding diaries and original artwork from Sweden. Established in 2006, this now long running blog is now a complete overview of my birding experiences. As an artist I greatly enjoy sketching birds in the field and you will find a wide selection of that work here, from fieldwork to finished paintings. I am very passionate about my artwork and try to depict birds in their natural habitat, as I see them in the wild. My artwork is for sale and can be viewed at http://www.alandalton.net/
As regards to my photography, since 2008 I have used a Nikon D90 DSLR camera coupled with a Sigma 150-500mm OS lens for since March 2012 for bird photography, all previous images being digiscoped. Regarding sound recording, I have been usung a Telinga Stereo Dat Mic and parabol to record birds in the field, coupled to a Marrantz 661 digital recorder, a superb piece of kit. Interest in butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies has recently seen the accquisition of a Sigma 150mm macro lens. I hope you enjoy the blog and please feel free to leave comments or contact me at alandltn@gmail.com

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Night Singing Birds; An outing to sound record nocturnal species; Sandemar; 22nd May 2012

 My first outing of it's type with the telinga parabol, the aim, to record some night singing bird species. I arrived at Sandemat at 23.40pm and initially sat and listened, allowing my eyes to adjust to the dark, having assembled the parabol in the carpark by torchlight. Out of the darkness came the liquid tones of Thrush Nightingales, three birds singing out in the darkness. I had no difficulty moving around in the dark and a while later I was getting into position beside the singers....
 Thrush Nightingales sing from dense cover and you can often get quite close without seeing the bird in daylight hours, too close though and the bird will often move position. Not so in the dark it seems, the birds allowing close approach to within a few metres and soon I had superb recordings of two individual birds at close quarters. It quickly dawned on me that recording at night had huge advantages, namely no traffic, no planes overhead, no people making noise, not even other birds to a degree!Whilst recording the nightingales there was little else to be heard in the background, just the occasional distant Lapwing, until another, much more welcome species was picked up, Tawny Owl. In the background, two birds could plainly be heard with the aid of the parabol, though not with the naked ear. So, the telinga proves it's worth again as a finder of birds with a yeartick. There was, however, another nightsinger picked up after a while..
 Eventually I moved on and closed in on another sought after yeartick, Marsh Warbler. The bird was singing intensively from an old reedbed from the previous year. Again, I was able to approach to within a few metres without any problem. I recorded the bird several times, the bird's mimicry leaving me absolutely gobsmacked. Species after species was mimicked, at times it was difficult to believe there was no Common Tern flying past, or Common Rosefinch singing close by, such was the accuracy of this remarkable songster. Common Rosefinch, Common Tern, Willow Warbler, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Starling, Wood Sandpiper, White Wagtail were among the species the bird had integrated into it's song. A stunnning mimic, which often varied it's song as I listened over 30 minutes, the notes crystal clear through the sennheiser headphones...
 Then on to Hoggarn, where I sat and listened for a while. Lapwing were active in the pitch dark and I recorded the birds before a roding Woodcock passed over. It took a while to work out the birds pattern of flight, though after a while it was clear the bird was following a flight pattern and eventually I secured a decent recording. Then through to the bird observation tower where Common Snipe were displaying. Several attempts later I had recorded these birds to my satisfaction just as the first indications of light began to appear, with that another tatrget species began to sing, Redwing. Three birds began intermitently at first, though eventually they were in full song and good recordings were made...
 As the light began to increase there were suddenly birds everywhere. Garden Warbler was a species I wanted to record and I spent some time getting the recordings I wanted. By now so many species were singing it was hard to isolate a good, clear soundbite without other species crashing the recording, a pair of vocal Crane, Lesser Whitethroat, Tree Pipit and raucous Greylag Goeese being the loudest of all.Many species have now returned to Sweden and this was a seriously wide ranging dawn chorus! Eventually the racket was deafening, at least seven Thrush Nightingale now booming from cover, Marsh Warbler still going, Crane trumpeting and Lapwing displaying. An incredible nights birding, all in darkness. I'll be doing this again....
 Recordings to follow, after sound editing, which takes a while...



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