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Posts Tagged ‘Arctic tern’

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Hólmavatn is a heath lake in the interior in west of Iceland between the two valley Kjarrárdalur and Hvítársíða. It is a part of a big lake system on a heath named Arnarvatnsheiði.
I have once before record the soundscape by this lake before. That was mostly a struggle with wind all the time, so I did not get anything interesting.
But at 22nd of June 2019 the weather forecast was perfect for this area, clear sky and calm most of the night.
I arrived with my gear around 9 pm at my previous recording place. It was still windy and some anglers about 500m away east of the lake. I quickly put up my rigs knowing that a calm weather meant just lot of gnats. I decided to put a two stereo pairs close to the shore, facing out to the lake. LCT450s in NOS about 60 m east from my car and MKH20 pair 70 m in the west. Suddenly around 11pm the wind stopped to blow and I started the recording.
What glorious soundscape. All those small tiny things and all those bird species. The LCT540s sounds much cleaner and brighter than MKH20, I guess mainly because of the different location.
But there was a big problem which I did not notice with my bare ears. The anglers made so much noise it was clear they would destroy my „natural silence“ recordings this night. They were playing a radio all the time, talking, starting car engines, and even worse, soon after I started the recording two of them started a motor boat. All this noise lasted for about two or two and a half hours.
Later that night when this noisy anglers were gone, all the birdsong became calm and less active. I am not sure why, but afterwards when I listened to the recordings it seemed like the anglers on the boat were disturbing birds on their habitat.
Following recording is a part of this „anglers moment“, probably the best part because the motorboat was mostly far east on the lake most of this time.
In the beginning of the recording you can clearly hear tiny sparks. It is coming from foam which forms between stones in the shore during windy days. When the bobbles in this foam blows, they make this tiny sparking sound. During the recording the sparks get fewer and lower because the weather is calm and no waves on the lake.
But there are so many bird species I guess I will not know them all. Great Northern Diver, Read Throated Diever, Arctic Tern, Whooper Swan, Pink Footed Goose, Black Headed Gull, Golden Plower, Dunlin, Whimbrell, Common Snipe, Common Redshank, Arctic Skua, Rock Ptarmigan and probably some other which you are welcome, if you know, to name in comments below.
You will hear the fish jumping and Arctic Tern hunting on the lake surface. Other background noise other than human noise from anglers is mainly from the river Kjarrá which flows in the Kjarrárdalur valley 4Km north of the lake .
This recording got a gently noise reduction, mainly because of high gain.
It was recorded with 47dB gain. In post the gain was normalized +26dB up to -5dB
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at medium level.

(mp3 256kbps / 68Mb)
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Recorder: Sonosax SX-R4+
Mics: Lewitt LCT540s (NOS setup)
Pix: Canon EOS M50
Location: 64.799603, -20.895132
Weather: Dry. Mostly calm up to 5m/sec

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Svartárkot means “Black River Croft” and is a working sheep farm at the southernmost part of Bárðardalur valley in northern Iceland. It lies on the western bank of Svartárvatn lake, at the southernmost point of Fljótsheiði heath, around 400 meters above sea level, at the foot of the Ódáðahraun lava, the wildest uninhabited lava interior of Iceland. To the south, a wilderness extends all the way to Vatnajökull glacier, the largest ice-cap in Europe. To the south and east lie the rugged uninhabitable areas o the highlands, the domains of glaciers and lavafields. A colourful cultural history is to be found further down the valley towards the lowlands. Svartárkot has been inhabited through most of Iceland’s history and can be seen as a symbol for the interplay between humans and nature, human habitation and wilderness. In addition to sheep, the farmers at Svartárkot maintain a trout fishing business by selling fishing licenses and home-smoked trout and arctic char. They are also experienced guides with a vast knowledge of the interior preserved through generations, and lead both hiking tours and mountain jeep excursions(source).
I was at Svarárkot farm in late May 2018, with Bob Mcguire who was collecting bird sounds in associate with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds. Farmers were busy in lambing and birds in mating, especially Barrow´s Goldeneye. This duck is not common in Iceland. They are mainly found in NE Iceland, around lake Mývatn and at Svartárkot farm, probably because farmers make nesting boxes inside the barn´s walls.
I and Bob spent maybe two or three hours at Svartárkot recording birds, sheep and soundscapes. Just before we were leaving the place, I put up my rig between the lake and the sheep sheds and started recording. The outcome was the following recording.
It starts peacefully in calm weather. Behind the microphones is the sheep sheds and in front is the lake with most of the birds that make sounds in this recording. Nosiest are the Barrow´s Goldeneye with its strange male´s „ticking“ attracting sound. There are also other birds like Raven, White Wagtail, Dunlin, Arctic tern, Common Ringed Plover and Whimbrel. The farmer is driving on four wheeler between the buildings on the farm and suddenly the wind gets stronger until it was almost impossible to continue the recording.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at medium level.

(mp3 256kbps / 62Mb)
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Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8020/8040 (AB40)
Pix: Canon EOS-M

Location: 65.340929, -17.244718
Weather: Calm up to 10m/s, clear sky, about 12°C

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Imagine, It is 3:30, mid summer morning. You are within five kilometers from the arctic circle and two and a half kilometers from the north Atlantic ocean. It is calm, and dry and the sun which has never goes completely down this night, gives a silk smooth light through thin layer of clouds. The biosphere is remarkable. It is visible everywhere. From bugs in the grass, fish in the brook to the birds in the air or in the field. All living species seems to be busy to live in beautiful harmony with Mother nature,
You are located at Skinnalónsheiði (heathland) which is close to Hraunhafnartangi peninsula, northern most part of Iceland.
Just a few weeks earlier this place was frozen under ice and snow, extremely quiet and almost a lifeless place.
The following recording is quiet, even though it’s biological busiest time of the year. Bird songs and call’s are mostly in the distance, but sometimes something catches the attention, like the wriggling fish in the brook, or different uncommon songs from different bird species.
Background noise is mostly surf from the ocean two and half kilometers away or sometimes swarm of midges.
Many bird species are in this recording. Whooper Swan, European Golden-Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Whimbrel (European), Black-tailed Godwit (islandica), Dunlin, Purple Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Common Redshank, Parasitic Jaeger, Great Black-backed Gull, Arctic Tern, Red-throated Loon, Meadow Pipit, Snow Bunting, Rock Ptarmigan and Great Northern Diver, Great Black-backed Gull, Graylag Goose, Long-tailed Duc.
Another recording was made that same night several kilometers away, nearby Hraunhafnartanga peninsula. Listening here.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at medium level.

(256mbps mp3 / 74Mb)
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Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20 (AB40)
Pics: LG G6
Location: 66.513116, -16.149781
Weather: Calm, dry, light clouds, 11C°
Recording date: 29th of May 2018

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Kirkjubæjarklaustur (Klaustur) is a village in the south of Iceland on the hringvegur (road no. 1 or Ring Road) between Vík í Mýrdal and Höfn. It is part of the municipality of Skaftárhreppur and has about 500 inhabitants.
Even before the time of the first Norse settlement in Iceland, Irish monks are thought to have lived here. Since 1186, a well known convent of Benedictine nuns, Kirkjubæjar Abbey, was located in Kirkjubæjarklaustur, until the Reformation in 1550. The names of the waterfall Systrafoss („waterfall of the sisters“) and of the lake Systravatn („water of the sisters“) on the highland above the village refer to this abbey. Folk tales illustrate the history with stories about good and sinful nuns. The Systrastapi (sister’s rock) is where two of the convent’s nuns were buried after being burned at the stake. One of the nuns was accused of selling her soul to the Devil, carrying Communion bread outside the church, and having carnal knowledge with men; the other was charged with speaking blasphemously of the Pope. After the Reformation, the second sister was vindicated, and flowers are said to bloom on her grave, but not that of the first nun. Systravatn also has a legend relating to the convent. The nuns traditionally bathed in the lake, and one day two nuns saw a hand with a gold ring extending from the water. When they tried to seize the ring, they were dragged below the water and drowned.
The village became well known in Iceland during the Lakagígar volcano eruptions in 1783. The pastor of the local church and dean of Vestur-Skaftafellssýsla, Jón Steingrímsson (is) (1728 – 1791), delivered what became known as the „Fire Sermon“ (eldmessu) on July 20, 1783. The legend says that this sermon stopped the lava flow, and the village was spared at the last moment. The current church, constructed in 1974, was built in memory of the Reverend Jón Steingrímsson.
Today, the village is an important service center for the farms in the region as well as for tourists and weekend visitors. (Wikipedia)
During summer time many bird species are nesting close to the village and the river Skaftá which flows beside the village. Arctic Terns have a big colony almost in the middle of the village, so many other migrant birds are nesting there too.
The recording was captured early morning 7th of June 2016 and is a part of 7 hours long recording
Many bird species are in this recording, Arctic tern, Red wing, Common Snipe, Whimbrel, Common Redshank, Red-necked Phalarope and probably many other species. What I love most in this recording is in the middle of the recording, is a „special song“ of Eurasian Wigeon which is not a common bird in my recordings.
Quality headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low level. Be careful, sometimes the level goes high when birds fly by.

(mp3, 265kbps / 59Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 788
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20
Pic: Canon EOS-M

Location: 63.787049, -18.050793
Weather: Cloudy, Calm, around 7 °C

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I spend almost 4 days late June 2017 recording in Þjórsárver area, which is a tundra southeast of Hofsjökull glacier. It was shortly after the road administrator open the Sprengisandur route across the highland, so there was still not much traffic. It was very early this summer so it was possible for me to record birds activity in nests.
When I arrived at Eyvindakofaver I saw an Arctic fox sneaking around a stone cairns and an angry Snow Bunting flying around. It was a clear message for something interesting to record.
The weather was boring for recording. It was cloudy, the temperature about 4°C and the wind was SW, 5-10 m/sec. But the stone cairn was a suitable cover for the microphones. So I put up my gear and started recording just before midnight and then went to sleep.
At 3:40 the wind suddenly went down for about 30 minutes which was the only minutes with calm weather this four days in the area. Calm weather means normally better detail recording for the birds’ activity and deeper listening to far distance sounds.
Usually Snow Bunting lay eggs two times during the summer so this was likely the previous nesting time.
It is necessary to listen to the whole recording but suddenly something happens in the nest which we humans can guess was probably a brutal rape or other domestic violence.
If you think this was something else, feel free and leave a comment below.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening in silence at low level, or in speakers at low level.

(256 kbps / 59,4Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20 NOS
Pics: Canon EOS-M
Weather. Cloudy, around +3°C, SW, 2m/s
Location: 64.613944, -18.575462

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I have published many times recordings from the Nature Reserve Flói in southwest Iceland, so I will not introduce that area again.
During the years I remember couple of times when curious sheeps have disturbed the recording. This is one of them.
This peace is a 30 minutes of nine hour overnight recording. It was recorded between 7 and 8 o´clock in the morning 25th of July 2015.
The recording is not only disturbed by the sheeps, it is also highly disturbed by tourist traffic, especially in the air. Jets are arriving and leaving the country and smaller planes in sightseeing so this peaceful area is not especially quite this time.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at medium level.

(256kbps / 57,2Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 788
Mics: RodeNT1 (NOS) & MKH20 (AB40) as close together as possible
Pix: Canon EOSM
Location: 63.901026, -21.192189
Weather: Calm, cloudy, around 11°C

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Hjalteyri is a small village on the western shores of Eyjafjörður, fjord in north of Iceland.
It all began when the Norwegians started salting herring around 1880 and the village Hjalteyri was confirmed by law as a trading post in 1897. Swedes, Scots and Germans would fish there in the following years but all foreigners had left by 1914.
The Icelandic fishing company Kveldulfur was active there from 1914 and in 1937 built the largest herring factory in Europe at Hjalteyri, which ran until 1966. The company also built many of the beautiful residential buildings that still stand in the village, such as the house of Thor Jensen, the founder of the company, and Asgardur, where the head of the factory lived.
The herring disappeared from the fishing grounds in the 1960s and Kveldulfur thus left as well. Fishing from small boats increased. Today, at Hjalteyri is a harbor and a small fishing industry, the drying of fish heads and aquaculture are the mainstay of the economy. During the summer months the buildings of the old herring factory are often used as a venue for art exhibitions. Around 40 people lives there today. There is also a pretty big Arctic Tern colony which brings also many other bird species to the area.
The following recording was captured in 8th of July 2015. It is 25 minutes of 6 hours long overnight recording.
This is one of my recording where I probably should have used another microphones because of the noise source in the surrounding. In this case a „fan noise“ from the factory. I use cardioid mics so the noise is only on the left side, instead of omni which would have brought the noise more to both sides and made the listening more pleasant in headphones.
So now I would recommend to listen to this recording in speakers in low-mid level, instead of headphones.

(256kbps / 46Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 744
Mics: Rode NT1a in NOS setup
Pics. EOS-M
Location: 65.853976, -18.194666
Weather: Calm up to 4m N, almost clear sky, temp around 8-12°C

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I think I don‘t need to present the nature reserve in Flói in many words. It is a wetland / moors in south of Iceland. I have already published in this blog several hours of „Flói recordings“.
Last spring was cold, wet and windy so I did not spend much time there. But in June, I stayed there for two nights while I recorded several hours of recordings during the nights.
As usual I fell in to sleep in the field during that time, so I did not know what I was recording. Last week when I was searching trough the recordings, I noticed some interesting moments.
At 14th of June the overnight weather forecast was nice and I started to record at midnight. Between 2 and 5 in the morning the wind went down so the field got „quieter“ for far distance sound waves.
I put up Rode NT1 in NOS in the same place as usual and pointed them to north. The soundscape is always spectacular in this place.
This soundscape is probably not what everyone would hear by bear ears. The recording is highly amplified. In this circumstances and Rode NT1, I normally adjust the gain on the recorder between 54-58dB. In this particular recording the gain is increased again in post about +24 dB so the peak level in one moment (at 13:16) reach 0dBf.
Many bird species are audible in this recording like Red throat Diver, Common Snipe, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Whimbrel, Gull, Arctic Tern, Northern Wheatear, Greylag Goose, Whooper Svan, Meadow Pipit and other bird species I have forgotten, or can’t name. Other audible animals like horses and sheep’s are there too.
Background noise is mostly from the Atlantic ocean’s waves along the south coast behind the mics. Then as usual, traffic noise and sometimes a party music somewhere in the county.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low level.

Flói 2015. 1. Hluti

Hér er á ferðinni upptaka úr friðlandinu í Flóa frá því á laugardagskvöldi og sunnudagsmorgni 14. júní 2015. Eins og fyrri upptökur úr Flóa sem finna má hér á síðunni eru hljóðnemarnir ávallt staðsettir á sama stað við sömu tjörn norðan við fuglaskoðunarhúsið.
Í upptökunni má heyra í ýmsum fuglategundum. Má þar nefna lóm, hrossagauk, heiðlóu, lóuþræl, spóa, máfa, kríu, steindepli, grágæs, álft og þúfutitling. Þá heyrist lika í hestum og kindum.
Bakgrunnssuð er einkum brim meðfram Suðurströndinni og einkum við Ölfusárósa. Svo berst hávaði frá bílum og partítónlist einhvers staðar í sveitinni.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á upptökuna í góðum opnum heyrnartólum og á miðlungs- lágum hljóðstyrk.

Download mp3 file (256kbps / 60,7Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 788
Mics. Rode NT1 (NOS)
Pix. Canon EOS M
Weather: clear sky, mostly calm, between -1 to 4°C
Time: 14 June 2015, between 2 and 3 o’clock
Location: 63.900933, -21.191876

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The Ófeigsfjarðarflói is divided into three fiords, furthest east is Ingólfsfjörður, in the middle is Ófeigsfiörður, and furthest west is Eyvindarfiörður. Those fiords were named after three brothers, the sons of the Norwegian Herraudur White Cloud (Herraauður Hvítaský) , who settled there. According to the land registry of 1706 the farm in Ófeigsfiörður was abandoned, but soon afterwards it was re-inhabited. The register also states, that the most important advantages of the property were seal hunting, driftwood collecting and processing, eiderdown and the winter grazing on the shoreline. The greatest disadvantages were the long and hard winters and the long and dangerous way to the nearest church. The farm was abandoned in the sixties, but the driftwood and the eider colonies are exploited every summer.
The eiderdown is mainly collected on the islet Hrútey, just off the headland Hrúteyjarnesmúli, and also around the farmhouses. Sustenance fisheries were also practiced during the centuries and the shark fishing was an important enterprise until 1915.
During Catholic times a prayer chapel stood in Ófeigsfiörður. Some geothermal activity was spotted in two places on the property.
Nowadays travellers use the nice camping grounds in Ófeigsfiörður. Hikers in the northern Strandir area use them in the beginning or at the end of their hiking tours. The closest you get to Ófeigsfiörður by car is Eyri in Ingólfsfiörður, but a 4wd track continues all the way.
Following recording was recorded nearby the camping side.
In the recording an Arctic tern is constantly attacking the fury microphones. But the battle last for only twenty minutes so the recording ends in a peaceful sonic experience.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at mid-level

Árás í Ófeigsfirði

Hér er á ferðinni upptaka sem tekin var upp við tjaldsvæðið í Ófeigsfirði, síðdegis þann 25. júní 2015.
Kría gerir ótal árásir á óboðinn gest við hreiðurstæð sitt. Árásirnar standa yfir í u.þ.b. 20 mínútur en eftir það fellur allt í dúnalogn og við tekur hljóðmynd sem er hljóðlát og draumkennd.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á upptökuna í góðum opnum heyrnartólum og á miðlungs hljóðstyrk.

Download mp3 file (224kbps / 30Mb)

Recorder: Sound devises 744/302
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8020/8040 (Parallel ORTF)
Pix: Canon EOS M
Recording location: 66.049999, -21.702376
Weather: Around 12°C , Calm, dry and sunny.

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Life has been difficult for some seabird species in some places around Iceland. Puffin colony with around 3 million birds has almost disappeared within few years from Vestmannaeyjar island south of Iceland. Change in the ecosystem is probably the main reason for this dramatically changes. But it is not only Puffins; many seagull species have also difficulties to survive. These gulls are in big flocks where ever scraps can be found. We have also several stories about them hunting BQ from hot outdoor grills.
Last week I was in Garðabær, south Reykjavik region, when I noticed some different behaviors of the birds around me. I went there with my gear later that day if there was something to record. I was lucky. Just when I arrived, hundreds of Arctic Tern and Black-Headed Gull was catching something on a manmade beach. Tide was getting lower so it was something trapped in a pool on the beach. I am still not sure what it was, but probably was it Pollock juveniles.
Some minutes after I started recording a flock of Lesser Black Backed Gull arrive with lot of noise until some photographer came too close and they all flew away (at 13 min).
Other birds like Great Black Backed Gull, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Common Eider, Raven and even Great Northern Diver was around, or not far away.
This recording is my contribution to World listening day 2014.

Matarveislan í Hraunsvík

Það var óvenju fjölskrúðugt fuglalíf á Arnarnesvoginum þegar ég átti þar leið um miðjan júlí. Mátti meira að segja heyra í himbrima úti á voginum. Ég ákvað því að koma þar við með upptökutækin um kvöldið og hljóðrita herlegheitin.
Ég kom svo til alveg á réttum tíma. Kría var í tuga ef ekki hundraða tali að steypa sér eftir einhverju æti í manngerðri vík í Hraunsvík. Stuttu eftir að upptaka hófst þá kom flokkur máfa sem reyndi að fá hlutdeild af ætinu sem líklega voru ufsaseiði.
Þegar mest gekk á voru þarna margar fuglategundir. Mest var af kríu, hettumáfi og sílamáfi, en inn á milli mátti sjá svartbak, æðarfugl, tjald og hrafn .
Þessi upptaka er framlag mitt til World Listening Day 2014.

Download mp3 file (192kmps / 38Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 744
Mics: Sennheiser 8040 (ORTF)
Pics. EOS-M (see more pictures)
Overview above the recording place

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