Hebdomadal sound project: May 2013

Week 21
Brownsea Island, Dorset
May 23rd

Arriving at Brownsea Island ferry terminal

Week 21 saw me ensconced in Poole, Dorset, and while I was there I took the opportunity to take a ferry from Poole harbour to Brownsea Island, the birthplace of the Scouting movement that is now owned by the National Trust. After I landed on the Island I headed to the south shoreline where I happily observed some oystercatchers flying around me. In the following you can hear them, as well as a couple of terns (that were dive bombing the sea for fish), gentle waves, and a few boat engines in the background.

(11.40 am (05:00))

South shoreline, Brownsea Island

The main attraction on the island, for me at least, was the Dorset Wildlife Trust’s nature reserve, which takes up the majority of the north half of the island. A few hides have been erected adjacent to a wetland area, which attracts all manner of waders and seabirds. A very friendly volunteer took the time to describe what we were seeing from the ‘Low hide’, and from one of the viewing windows I made the following recording in which you can mainly hear black-headed gulls:

(1.40 pm (08:30))

View from the Mac hide

Next is a recording made from the ‘Mac’ hide located much further out into the wetland. Here you can hear nesting Sandwich Terns, amongst other species, as well as the wooden hide rattling in strong winds:

(2.45 pm (08:00))

Within the nature reserve stands a house now used as an information centre. Outside were some chickens roaming freely amongst the trees. The following is a recording of a hen seemingly teaching her 6 chicks how to scratch among the undergrowth looking for food; it was quite hard to not laugh during the recording at how the chicks were mimicking her actions. You can also hear a few other bird species (including a distant peacock), a train horn from Poole station, and strong winds through the surrounding trees.

(3.30 pm (04:30))

Lastly, I made a recording on the ferry back to Poole harbour, taken close to the engine:

(4.00 pm (09:30))

Setup: 1 RØDE NT4 (ferry recording 2 RØDE lavalier mics in stereo position) to Tascam DR-680

Week 20
Edinburgh to London train
May 19th, 5pm

The following recording was made while standing in the space between two carriages on a train from Edinburgh to London Kings Cross, about an hour outside of London.


Setup: 2 RØDE lavalier mics in stereo position to Tascam DR-680

Week 19
Isle of Bute, Firth of Clyde
May 11th

This week I went on a day trip to the Isle of Bute with a friend. After taking the train from Glasgow Central to Wemyss Bay (on our way passing through a station simply, and menacingly, called ‘IBM‘), we took a short ferry ride over the water. The sounds from the ferry’s deck were fittingly as flat and serene as the grey skies overhead:

(1.10 pm (05:30))

Rothesay Bay

The ferry’s destination is Rothesay, the largest settlement on the island. Later on in the day while looking out to Rothesay Bay, I recorded thousands of mussel shells gently being washed ashore and the distant rumble of our return ferry.
(5.30pm (04:30))

Setup: 2 RØDE lavalier mics in stereo position to Tascam DR-680

Week 18
Dawn chorus, Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
May 5th, 4.40am

Sunday the 5th of May was International Dawn Chorus Day, so I woke at 4am and headed to Hunter’s Bog adjacent to Arthur’s Seat to listen to and record the chorus. The following is a 50 minute recording from 4.40 to 5.30am; sunrise was about 5.20am and a strong wind blew for the duration.


Setup: RØDE NT4 to Tascam DR-680