Hebdomadal sound project: April 2016

Week 17
Bristol Zoo
April 27th, 10.30am-3.30pm

A trip to Bristol Zoo with a group of undergraduate students I’m teaching, provided an opportunity to record a range of interesting animals, people’s responses to them, and the soundscapes of different animal enclosures. So as not to unnecessarily stress any animals, or bring attention to myself from other visitors, I recorded the following using in-ear microphones, which sound best played back through a good set of headphones.
The first recording is from outside a cage containing black-cheeked lovebirds, a very vocal little parrot. You can also hear someone talk to a small child about them (“like when I say I love you. These are lovebirds”), a water fountain nearby that is switched off towards the end of the recording, and the general ambience of the zoo during a quiet period of the day, just before closing.


Next is a recording inside the flamingo enclosure, which, apparently, is one of the oldest sections of this Victorian-era zoo. Species you can hear in the enclosure are greater flamingos, redshanks, and pied avocets. You can also hear an Asiatic lion vocalising from a nearby enclosure.


Quite a few school groups passed through the zoo during the day; the following recording is of a walk through the reptile house while a large group of school children try to answer a question sheet (with more than a little help from their teachers).


Finally, a recording of a walk through an enclosure the zoo calls the “forest of birds” – essentially a shed-like structure housing birds not normally found together. You can hear Asian glossy starlings, which give off an intermittent screech, and Java sparrows (pictured below). The call that starts around 3:50 is, I think, a White-naped Pheasant-pigeon. Also in the enclosure are orange-headed thrushes and crested partridges, amongst other species.


Setup: 2 in-ear Soundman OKM II mics to Sound Devices 702

Week 16
Plymouth Great Wood, Cardiff
April 17th, 2.35pm

Close to St Fagans, where I recorded during week 12 last month, is a small parcel of woodland named Plymouth Great Wood after its former owner the Earl of Plymouth. Requisitioned by the Government to provide timber during World War I, it is now owned by Cardiff Council as a public park. I know that parts of south Wales are very popular for off-road scrambler motorbikes, and it seems like the wood is one of those places; for the duration of my time there I could hear bikes tearing along a track on the edge of the woodland. A woodpecker makes a brief cameo at around 3:50.


Setup: 2 DPA 4060 lavalier mics in stereo position to Sound Devices 702

Week 15
River Taff, Cardiff
April 9th, 3.30pm

While trying out an underwater camera along the River Taff, I recorded the sound of it flowing with a hydrophone.


Setup: mono hydrophone to Zoom H4

Week 14
Maindy Barracks, Cardiff
April 5th, 3.25pm

Located to the rear of Maindy Barracks on a warm April afternoon, the following recording captures the ambience of one of the many quieter back alleys of Cathays, Cardiff. Big sheets of plastic on the perimeter of the barracks flap in the wind, birds sing in the trees above me, a football ricochets off of a wall, a biplane passes, and an emergency services siren echoes from a distance.


Setup: 2 DPA 4060 lavalier mics in stereo position to Sound Devices 702