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Posts Tagged ‘Lesser Black Backed Gull’

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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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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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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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