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Posts Tagged ‘Fuglar’

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I always miss those times in the last century when I rode on a bicycle alone for weeks in the highlands. I knew every single road and trail that could be found on maps, and other routes too. I had a special ability to look at maps and make detailed travel plans based on route conditions and weather forecasts. I knew very well my physical limitations and all the places where I could seek from bad weather. Therefore I never had any problems in my travels.
Without meeting people or seeing human structure, nature and I merged into one. The journeys were therefore both mentally and physically rejuvenation.
After the year 2002, cars and traffic began to increase rapidly in Iceland. Mountain huts that used to be shelters were now closed. Many emergency huts were removed due to poor handling. It became increasingly difficult to travel without being disturbed by noisy humans and without shelter in remote locations.
One of these very few emergency huts that still exist and are open and have saved many lives is on a Kaldidalur route. For me this hut was often a first overnight stop from Reyakjavík on the way to cross the highland.
I was in Kaldidalur 28th of May 2017 to record the surroundings. I decided to record beside the hut to record a familiar sound.
This is a typical soundscape for Icelandic highland. Birds in the distance and windy and if not windy and rainy then complete silence.
Inside the hut was normally the same sound but more silent, except if there was buzzing fly in the window.
Even though it is many years since this soundscape was part of my daily experience, I get an undeniable nostalgia for the past for listening to this recording
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at mid or low level.
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  (mp3 256Kbps / 63,7Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 744T
Mics: Rode NT1 NOS
Pix: Canon EOS-M

Location: 64.447652, -20.961026
Weather. Cloudy, 4-10m/sec, drizzle rain. 5°C

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It has been several years since I published a recording from Flói nature reserve. The reason is more or less because of foul weather in recent years when I have had the opportunity to record there.
It was no exception last summer from late April to mid July. It was cold, windy and wet most of the time which is actually the high season for birdsong recording.
I went there on the 3rd of July 2021 and recorded overnight. The weather was calm in the beginning but the wind increased over the night. I was also struggling with increased sea tide and therefore a surf noise from the coast line, actually at the same time when the birds were most active during the dawn.
My mics were Lewitt LCT540s in IRT cross setup. Most of the bird’s activity was in front of channel 1&2. Most „silence“ was in front of channel 2&3 and most of the surf and traffic noise was at channel 4&1.
It surprised me how much traffic was there the whole night. There was almost constant rumble in the air during the ten hours I was recording, except between four and five o’clock in the morning. This noise was much more audible than I remember in my earlier recordings. The reason could be found in different mic setup and mics. Ten years ago I used to use NT1a in NOS or AB, pointing towards the open field and keeping the nearest road and coastline behind. I have also used MKH20 in AB which is less sensitive for these details than large capsule mics.
It takes time to search in this 10 hour long recording for some nice sounding 30 minutes moments. Listening to the whole four channels it starts with heavy traffic noise in all channels, then surf noise. Then traffic noise again until the wind and the sun makes the air so unstable close to noon, both traffic noise and bird activity almost disappear in the wind noise.
But with an IRT cross rig I have many options. I can turn off the channel or channels which are disturbing for the soundscape I am looking for.
The recording below is a very good example of this. Instead of using all four channels and mixing them to stereo, I use only channel 2&3 (NOS 90°/30cm) to avoid the surf noise. The time when it starts is about 04:15 so there is almost no traffic noise, but anyway, the recording starts and ends with some engine noise in the distance.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at mid or low level.
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Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Lewitt LCT540s,  NOS 30cm/90°
Pix: Canon EOS R

Location: 63.900944, -21.191958
Weather: Calm to breeze, partly cloudy, ca 5-10°C

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Hjörleifshöfði is a 221 m-high inselberg in southern Iceland. It consists of palagonite. The mountain is located on the Mýrdalssandur outwash plain about 15 km east of the village Vík í Mýrdal, and was an island in the Atlantic Ocean several centuries ago (More info: Wikipedia).
I have very often visited this mountain, both those years when I was used to travel by bike in Iceland and now resent years when I am on my field recording trips.
But in recent years, mainly because of tourist traffic, it has not been so pleasant to stay there overnight to enjoy the natural soundscape, which can be a very different on each side of the mountain.
Thanks to COVID I got the opportunity on the 21st of June 2021 to record the soundscape on the west side without traffic noise from the main road, motor vehicles or tourists around me.
Even without traffic noise it has always been difficult to record this place because of the surf along the coast line which makes constant rumble in the background.
I arrived just before midnight. It was foggy but bright. This was last night before the summer solstice.
The weather forecast told me I would have more wind and even rain later in the morning so I quickly prepared the recording gear. I use the Kayak trailer behind the car to make a shelter from the breeze from the south and point the microphones toward the north in the middle of a big lupine field.
Most birds were mostly in the distance. But what makes the soundscape actually so interesting in this place is the redwing songs. They start their songs or themes differently from what I have heard in other places in Iceland. There are other places in Iceland where I have noticed this difference and it seems like it is somehow connected to places where lupine grows. These songs are also different between these „lupine locations“ e.g. Bæjarstaðarskógur in Skaftafell national park, while redwing songs sound pretty similar all over the country.
I have not investigated this in detail, but I have noticed this by listening to recordings from these locations and comparing them in spectrograms. What I need to do next is film them singing in these places to be sure I am actually listening to redwings (which is though 98% clear in my mind). Other things which make this a little bit difficult is the fact that not all birds sound similar in these locations so it is necessary to collect „closeup songs“ in good sound quality from several redwings to work with and investigate.
This is not my best quality recording, but it is almost impossible to record this place without traffic or surf noise. So I was just lucky to get this one.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at mid or low level
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(mp3 256kbps / 60Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8020/8040.  (Parallel AB) 
Pix: Canon EOS R

Location: 63.424336, -18.763861
Weather: Calm to breeze. Foggy, around 10 °C

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I recently noticed the best tripod I can get to avoid high levels of „mechanical wind noise“ in recordings. It is simply a hummock. I have many times recorded nature sound by leaving omni mics on the ground. But it has not been as simple for cardioid mics because it changes the EQ on the frequency range, especially when the mics are in the windshield.
Here below is a recording I did in Flói bird reserve in south Iceland. The average wind was probably around 4-5m/sec with some gust up to 5-7m/sec. The high pass filter was at 40Hz so mechanical wind noise should be with a typical tripod clearly audible at 3m/sec.
Keep in mind this is a recording of silence. It was barely nothing audible while this was recorded
It was recorded with 48dB gain and in post the gain was increased again about 27dB.
Most of the background noise is the surf on the south coast which is very noisy. The wind is almost constantly wiping the ground and airplanes make a rumble noise for many minutes. You will also hear wind noise but far less than it would have been with a typical tripod. 
One of the reasons I think it is so effective to put the rig on the ground, is mainly because the LCT540s is a heavy mic. So while the windshield lay so heavily on the ground, the ground works like a damper for all vibration on the windshield which therefore make less „mechanical wind noise“
Most bird species are in distance so this is not a very attractive recording. But many things are going on in this wide open space in south Iceland and it is always interesting to listen to soundscape which is too quiet for most human ear.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low level.

(mp3 256kbps / 60Mb)
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Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Lewitt LCT540s IRTcross setup
Pix: Canon EOS R
Location: 63.901024, -21.192173
Weather: cloudy, calm up to 7m/sec, around 12°C

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Two years ago, when I was recording in Skaftafell National Park, I noticed that Redwings sing differently between two places in the park. In the forest around Skaftafellsheiði, above the campsite and the information center, the redwings sing quiet „normal songs“ as most Redwings do in Iceland. But in nearby valley, in Morsárdalur in Bæjarstaðakógur forest, most of the Redwings colony start their song with two long tones before the „normal song“ starts.
I have search my recordings for something interesting. What makes it different and what is common with this Redwing songs which will probably bring me, or someone else, to further research.
But I will not talk about it here, because that will be another story.
By slowing down the recording four times (1min > 4min) it makes a totally new soundscape. It sounds like a rain forest full of screaming monkeys. It opens my mid for different understanding on birdsong. Redwing’s song is much more complex than I thought. They are far from being singing the same melody or make a simple message all the time. It sounds more like a complex language.
It does not matter what they are doing. Are they speaking to each other, sending messages or singing a complex song to the crowd, it always leave the question: What are they doing and what does it all mean?
Following recording was recorded last summer in Bæjarstaðaskógur. You can hear this special Redwing start his song with its two tones before he continues with a „normal“ song.
In the normal speed recording at 2:40, you will hear a rumble from the Morsárjökull glacier which was about 10km away
Background noise is mostly from streaming water in the mountains and the Morsá river.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low level.

Normal speed.
(mp3 256kbps / 12Mb)

Slow speed (4x).
(mp3 256kbps /41Mb)

Recorder: Sonosax SR-X4+ (24/48)
Mics: Sennheier MKH20 (AB40)
Pics: Canon EOS-M

Weather: Light cloud, showers around, calm, 10°C
Location: 64.058877,-17.024021

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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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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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This recording is almost straight forward from the recording I posted about a year ago “Dawn in Stafholtstungur, part 1”.
Now the traffic in the county increase slowly from previous recording, but all the time it is possible to listen to the birds activity in details around the recording place.
This was recorded the 18th of October 2013, between 6 and 7 in the morning near the farm Arnarholt.
Quality headphones are recommended while listening at low level in relaxed position.

Dögun í Stafholtstungum, annar hluti

Hér er á ferðinni  svo til beint framhald af upptöku sem fór á vefinn fyrir um ári síðan; “Dögun í Stafholtstungum, fyrsti hluti”.  Heyra má að umferð eykst í sveitinni  þar sem klukkan er farinn að ganga sjö.  Gera má ráð fyrir að það heyrist í sumum bílum, þá líklega flutningabílum, um langan veg  frá Norðurárdal suður til Borgarfjarðar. En þegar þögnin er sem mest er vel hægt að heyra í fuglum  athafna sig í smáatriðum nærri upptökustaðnum.
Upptakan var gerð við bæinn Arnarholt þann 18. október 2013
Mælt er með því að hlusta á þessa upptöku í góðum heyrnartólum og á lágum hljóðstyrk um leið og slakað er á í þægilegum stól eða rúmi.

Download mp3 file (256kbps / 60Mb)

Recorder:  Sound devices 744
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20 (AB40)
Pix: Canon EOS M
Rec. location: 64.672593, -21.629240
Weather: Clear sky, calm, -4°C

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Jökulsárgljúfur canyon in Vatnajökull National Park is situated in the north of Iceland near the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum. In the middle of Jökulsárgljúfur, between Dettifoss waterfall and Ásbyrgi canyon, is Vesturdalur valley.
Vesturdalur is mostly surrounded with steep cliffs with luxuriant flat bottom. Through the valley flows a small creek, Vesturdalsá, on its way to the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum.
The first week in June 2014 I arrived there on a foggy night and placed the microphones close beside the creek. The soundscape in the fog was particular. The rumble sound from Jökulsá River about 3 km away, filled the air with extreme murky mysterious power. But all around me was a beautiful bird song that followed me in to the sleep.
This recording is several hours long so it is most likely that more of this recording will be available online someday.
Thanks to the Friends of Vatnajokull who made this recording trip possible.
Quality headphones are recommended while listening at low level.

Vestudalur við Jökulsá á fjöllum

Þann 8. júní 2014 eftir miðnætti kom ég í Vesturdal við Jökulsárgljúfur. Talsverð þoka var á svæðinu svo skyggni var fremur lélegt. Mikil frðsæld var í dalnum enda mjög fáir á svæðinu. Fjölskrúðugur fuglasöngur kom úr öllum áttum, en loftið var þrungið drungalegum drunum frá Jökulsá á Fjöllum í austri. Áður en ég lagðist til svefns fann ég stað fyrir hljóðnemana við bakka Vesturdalsár sem liðaðiðst hljóðlega um dalinn.
Um leið og tækið var komið í gang leið ekki á löngu þar til ég var kominn í draumheima með notalegan fuglasöng í eyrunum næstu klukkustundir fram undir morgun.
Þessa upptöku má þakka samtökunum Vinum Vatnajökuls sem gerðu það kleift að af þessari upptökuferð gat orðið.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á upptökuna í góðum heyrnartólum og á lágum hljóðstyrk.

Download mp3 file (256kbps/51Mb)

Recorder: Sound Device 744
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20 (AB40)
Pics: Canon EOS M (See more pictures)
Recording location: 65.933496, -16.555915
Weather: Calm, fog, around 6°C

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Nothing is closer to a perfect experience as being alone in the wilderness, as far from any machines or human activity as you can. And when it is in cold or high altitude with no, or very quiet animal spices, your sense of organ, automatically starts to detect many things you may have never noticed before.
This is one of the things that make field recording in quiet environment so exciting. When you ignore the noise in your head and start to use all your senses, you suddenly noticed another level of sonic world. As a former touring cyclist I spent many weeks every year on the Icelandic highland. I was mostly alone so I got a great opportunity to listen deeply to this quiet soundscape.
Most of this soundscape is just a sound of wind and water and sometimes birds, sheep and gnats in distance.
Following recording contains this typical Icelandic highland soundscape as I remember it. It is so quiet that even the best modern recording equipment can barely capture it and lot of people would not hear anything in such places.
This recording sounds really nice in full quality, but as in mp3 format I am not sure if it interest online listener. Most PC soundcards and headphones do not have the sufficient quality to make it interesting. But anyway it is now online. This is, by the way, my favorite recording material.
The recording was captured between 8 and 9 am 26th of June 2014 in Vesturöræfi moorland, a huge open landscape east of Iceland in 600-800m above sea level. It was “early spring” so there was still a huge of snow.
The beat, or ticking sound, is a drops falling of strew down about 1cm in a small puddle (the picture above).
Some of the pink noise in the background is coming from the waves on the lake “Hálslón” (behind the microphones) and other flowing water in the area, so it is not only amplified noise or mic noise.
Audible birds are mostly Dunlin and in distance Golden Plover, Whimbrel and Northern Wheatear.
Thanks to the Friends of Vatnajokull who made this recording trip possible.
Quality headphones are recommended while listening at low level.

Droparnir falla á Vesturöræfum

Hér er á ferðinni upptaka frá Vesturöræfum vestan Snæfells. Þögnin var alger en þó mátti heyra í einstaka fugli. Það var tilvijun ein sem réði því að af þessari upptöku varð. Ég rölti um volteldissvæði nærri Klapparlæk rétt ofan við flóðlínu Hálslóns. Ég rak þá augun í vatnsdropa sem láku af strái í gríð og erg í lítinn poll þar sem þeir flutu og köstuðust til á vatnsfletinum í skamma stund.
Við að leggjast á fjórar fætur þá mátti greina taktfast ,,tikk” hljóð sem ég hlóðritaði í um klukkutíma.
Afraksturinn var að hluta til upptakan sem hér má heyra.
Fuglin sem helst heyrist í er lóuþræll, en í bakgrunni má heyra í lóu, spóa og steindepli.
Bakgrunnssuð er að hluta til frá öldugangi í Hálslóni og seitlandi leysingavatni í nágrenninu því enn var mikill snjór var á svæðinu þó kominn væri 26. júní.
Ekki er víst að allir geti notið þessarar upptöku þar sem hún þarf helst að hljóma í fullum upptökugæðum og góðum tækjum. En hér þó á ferðinni það upptökuefni sem heillar mig mest, það er það sem flestir mundu kalla ,,þögn”.
Þessari upptöku má þakka samtökunum Vinum Vatnajökuls sem gerðu það kleift að af þessari upptökuferð gat orðið.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á þessa upptöku í góðum heyrnartólum og á lágum hljóðstyrk.

Download mp3 file (256kbps / 45,68Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 744
Mics: Rode NT1a (NOS)
Pix: Canon EOS-M See more photos from the highland recording tour
Recording location: 64.873400, -15.817833
Weather: Cloudy, about 5°C. Calm

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