Monday, June 21, 2010

Otters in Strathardle

Writing a blog reminds you just how quickly time passes, particularly when posting on an annual event. I was in Perthshire again for a field course based at Kindrogan FSC field centre at Enochdhu last week and finally I saw some Otters (following Scottish Wildcat last year, and Pine Marten the previous year... or was it 2007?). I'm usually up in the woodland for several mornings of the dawn chorus which start around 0300h in the second week of June here, but one morning I was along the River Ardle and chanced upon these fine aquatic mammals. Other highlights included a Quail singing at 0307h on the 15th along with Osprey, Ring Ouzel, Dipper, Redstart, Crossbill and Mountain Hare. A short trip report summarising birds found over the week can be found on the main website here:

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Sound of Estonian Nights

Just got back from a trip to Estonia. Here is the typical sound of Estonia at night in early summer... Thrush Nightingale (Luscinia luscinia) song echoing across the countryside. Sound recording here is really nice as there is far less noise pollution than in the British Isles. This bird is my favourite vocally after the Blackbird and much preferable to the western ranging Nightingale (L. megarhynchos)... it's delivery is so much cooler and laid-back and it has a better taste in habitats! This one was recorded just after midnight with a Sennheiser ME66/K6 (with Rycote Softie windshield kit) and an Edirol R-09HR.

Still, in this recording you can hear other species in the background and the snapshot sonogram below (click for bigger version) shows: the omnipresent (and very irritating) mosquitoes in the first four secounds at 0.2-1.2 kHz; a Corncrake which is rasping at 1.8-3.8 kHz; the continuous stitching reel of the River Warbler at roughly 4-8 kHz; and a distant barking dog between 5.5 and 6.7 seconds at 0.55 kHz.

Anyway, this is just a quick update to say I'm still here! More news to follow on Estonia's great birds such as Great Snipe, Citrine Wagtail, White-backed Woodpecker, Three-toed Woodpecker, Greenish Warbler and, of course, Eurasian Cranes.

View of Männikjärve raba - bog with Black Grouse and Wood Sandpiper.

Finland and Sweden have great bird observation towers but in Estonia they really know how to construct very tall ones!

Part of the 700 metre boardwalk at Sutlepa meri - excellent for getting close to Savi's Warblers and Bitterns booming in stereo in both ears!