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Posts Tagged ‘Common Eider’

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Remote islands are interesting places. Almost every island has it’s own ecosystem which can be interesting to record. One of those islands is Elliðaey, which is a part of Vestmannaeyjar islands, south of Iceland.
I got an opportunity to go there on a 24 hours trip with Bob McGuire, which is recording birds in association with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds.
I am not a specialist in the ecosystem in Elliðaey so I will not say much about it here. It is slightly different between each island in the region and the bird species can be different from cliff to cliff
Our main target in Elliðaey was European storm petrel and Leach’s storm petrel. Bob was collecting individual calls and songs but I was going to record hours of ambiances. The bird colony gives a strong smell as usual, but this island also has a strong smell of sheep. For decades there have been several landowners and farmers from Heimaey island who keep there several dozens of sheep during the summertime.
Puffins have been in a very difficult situation for many years, especially south Iceland and Vestmannaeyjar islands. Mainly because some annually rhythm changes in the ocean biosphere. That situation was visible in Elliðaey. Probably more than 50% of the Puffins burrows were empty and abandoned and dead chicks were also visible around.
Not all birds have difficulties and many other bird species also live and breed in the island; Atlantic Puffin, Manx Shearwater, Leach’s Storm-petrel, European (British) Storm-petrel, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Northern Fulmar, Common Eider, Common Murre, Black Guillemot, Common Raven, European Starling, White Wagtail
As soon as we arrived I quickly found locations for the recorders and then we walked around in the bumpy landscape for other locations. We were early in the breeding season, 4th of June, so we were even not sure if birds we were going to record, like European storm petrel, had already arrived. What surprised me most was the silence in the interior island. No sound from the ocean waves or cliff birds, only wing flaps from busy birds above our heads, mostly puffins. But there was also a low rumbling noise, which filled the air and was difficult to locate. It took me time to figure out what it was, but it was from ships somewhere far away on the ocean, so far I could not even see them in the horizon. This noise never stopped when I was awake. It was just differently loud during day and the night, and of course louder when ship passed close to the island.
The following recording was made just before midnight on a hill south of the hut in the island, located almost in the middle of a puffin colony.
It is mostly puffins wing flaps, when they fly over, landed close by the microphones and sometimes a „spray & splash sound“ when they poop
Later that night both Leach’s Storm-petrel, European Storm-petrel surprisingly arrived to the island. But that will be for another blog.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at medium level.

(mp3 256kbps / 60.3Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser paralell MKH8020/8040 in AB40 (4ch)
Pix. LG G6
Location: 63.466604, -20.176682
Weather: Calm, misty & light shower, ca 12°C

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World Oceans Day takes place every 8 June. It has been celebrated unofficially since its original proposal in 1992 by Canada’s International Centre for Ocean Development (ICOD) and the Ocean Institute of Canada (OIC) at the Earth Summit – UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[1] The Brundtland Commission, i.e. the World Commission on Environment and Development, provided the inspiration for a global oceans day. The 1987 Brundtland Report noted that the ocean sector lacked a strong voice compared to other sectors. At the first World Oceans Day in 1992, the objectives were to move the oceans from the sidelines to the center of the intergovernmental and NGO discussions and policy and to strengthen the voice of ocean and coastal constituencies world wide.
The Ocean Project, working in partnership with leading organizations from all sectors, including the World Ocean Network, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and many others in its network of 2,000 organizations, has been promoting World Oceans Day since 2002 and together with World Ocean Network led a three-year global petition movement to secure official UN recognition. World Oceans Day was officially recognized by the United Nations in late 2008.[2]
World Oceans Day events are celebrated on 8 June, the closest weekend, the week, and the month of June. The day is marked in a variety of ways, including launching new campaigns and initiatives, special events at aquariums and zoos, outdoor explorations, aquatic and beach cleanups, educational and conservation action programs, art contests, film festivals, and sustainable seafood events. Youth have been playing an increasingly important role since 2015, including the development in 2016 of a World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council (Wikipedia).
The following recording was recorded at midnight 29th of May in a wonderful weather nearby Hraunhafnartanga peninsula, close by the arctic circle.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at medium level.

(mp3 256kbps / 55Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8020/8040 (Parallel AB37)
Pix: LG-G6

Location: 66.52273, -16.03947
Weather. Calm. Clear sky. around 7°C

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Last summer I spend one week at Raufarhöfn, a small village in north east of Iceland, close to the arctic circle. Most of the time it was a fool‘s weather for „quality“ recording. But anyway, I recorded almost 6 to 10 hours every night close to the sore. Most of theese recordings contains rumbling wind noise, but sometimes – very few times, I got what I was looking for.
Here is one of them, recorded 17th of June 2016.
It is early morning. The clock is around four. Birds are busy to protect and teach their young to search for food. Shortly after the recording starts, you can hear a fisherman pass by on his car on way to the harbor. Then later, the fishing boat goes, and passes by on the way to the sea. It takes a long time for the enginenoise to disrepair.
This is a peaceful recording. A typical midsummer morning soundscape at the arctic circle, where the sun never goes down. Many bird spices are in this recording, but mostly Common Eider and their youngs. Also you can hear Oystercatcher , Golden Plover, Purple Sandpiper, Red Necked Phalarope, Whimbrel, Common Snipe, Redwing, Snow Bunting, Svan, Great Northern Diver, Northern Fulmar, Kittiwake, Raven and probably may other.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level.

(256kbps / 55Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 788
Mics. Sennheiser MKH20 (AB40)
Pics: Canon EOS–M

Location: 66.451296, -15.946621
Weather: Light gust, cloudy

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During Icelandic independence day, 17. of June 2012, I was in Önundarfjörður fjord in the Westfjords, the north west peninsula of Iceland. This fjord lies deep between steep mountains with high cliffs. After midnight I entered an Arctic tern colony to record their sounds. The recording conditions was as good as it gets. The weather was calm, dry but cloudy, and the temperature was about 7 °C. Almost no traffic was in the fjord so most of the background noise was only coming from falling water in the mountains and sea waves at the shore.
This Arctic tern colony is big and has been there for decades, even centuries. This bird is very territorial and aggressive protecting the colony and many other bird more passive species feel safe to nest among the Arctic tern. So this recording includes sounds from many other bird spaces such as Whimbrel, Black-headed Gull, Black-tailed Godwit, Common Redshank, Oystercatcher, and Golden Plover… and many more
The recording contains also human and sheep voices from a nearby farm. Swans, Red-throat Diver, and common Eider at the shore side and a some sound from a Gull colony high in the cliffs all around the fjord.
During the recording the Arctic Terns attack many times the furry microphones. Sometimes you may hear their excrement fall to the ground around the microphones, but at this time they never hit or peck the Blimps.
The duration of the recording was almost 80 minutes. Following recording contains the last 36 minutes so my disturbing visit is not much audible. This is just a nice ordinary summer night in the north west of Iceland.

Krían í Önundarfirði 17. júní 2012.

Upptaka þessi var gerð í kríuvarpi nærri Holtstanga innst í Önundarfirði.
Veður var stillt, þurrt en skýjað og hiti um 7°C. Það var því varla hægt að kjósa sér ákjósanlegra veður til upptöku á fuglalífi. Allt iðaði af lífi. Fyrir utan kríu mátti sjá og heyra í hettumáfum, spóa, lóu, stelk, tjaldi og fleiri fuglum, Efst í fjöllunum mátti sjá allt fullt af fuglum á sveimi björgunum. Í flæðamálinu voru álftir, lóm og æðarfugl.

Download mp3 file (192kbps / 50,7Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 744t
Mics: Rode NT1a
Pics: Canon D30

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Common Eider

It is not possible every day to record nature sounds in as nice weather condition that was early morning at Seltjarnarnes in 25th of May 2000. Weather was calm and dry. Birds as Black backed Gull, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Common Snipe, Golden Plover and Arctic Tern were everywhere along the shore side, busy with their daily life. Close by, a group of female Common Eider was teaching very young ducklings how to search food.
Just after few minutes, I finished to set up the microphones, the Eiders came so close to the rig it was possible to listen their conversation in smallest details for almost two hours.
The quality of this recording still surprises me. It is one of the latest recording I made with Sony TC-D5M cassette deck with a pair of ME 20 microphones. The key of the quality was the microphone cables. Instead of ordinary mic cables I used CAT6 data cables. It makes extraordinary difference for the high frequency signal. All small details in the recording were cleaner and much brighter.
This recording is part of my second CD release, published in limited edition later the year 2000.

Fuglar í Seltjarnarnes fjöru 25. maí 2000

Það er ekki á hverjum degi sem hægt er að taka upp fuglasöng við veðurskilyrði eins og voru þessa nótt á Seltjarnarnesi 25. júní 2000. Veður var einstaklega stillt og allir fuglar voru komnir með unga. Einkenni þessarar upptöku er návígið við æðarkollur og unga þeirra sem leita fæðu í flæðarmálinu. Í mikilli nálægð er hægt að heyra buslið í ungunum og hvernig kollan kennir þeim og ver þá gegn varasömum gestum. Að auki má heyra í öðrum fuglum sem einkenna Seltjarnarnesið s.s. kríu, tjaldi, lóu og hrossagauk. Hljóðin eru síðan síbreytileg þar sem heyra má fuglahópa koma og fara í stöðugri leit sinni að fæðu.
Á sínum tíma þótti upptakan svo góð að hún endaði á CD útgáfu (sjá nánar á sölusíðu).

Download mp3 file (192kbps / 46Mb)

More Audio from this recording at Xeno-Canto and AudioBoo

Recorder: Sony TC-D5M (TDK MA-90mín).
Mic. Sennheiser K3U / ME20 (40cm/100° apart. Hi-Pass filter on level 1).
Pix: Canon 30D (pictures taken 2010).

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