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Storm petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus) is a seabird in the northern storm petrel family, Hydrobatidae. It is the only member of the genus Hydrobates. The small, square-tailed bird is entirely black except for a broad, white rump and a white band on the under wings, and it has a fluttering, bat-like flight. The large majority of the population breeds on islands off the coasts of Europe, with the greatest numbers in the Faroe Islands, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Iceland. The Mediterranean population is a separate subspecies, but is inseparable at sea from its Atlantic relatives; its strongholds are Filfla Island (Malta), Sicily, and the Balearic Islands.
The storm petrel nests in crevices and burrows, sometimes shared with other seabirds or rabbits, and lays a single white egg, usually on bare soil. The adults share the lengthy incubation and both feed the chick, which is not normally brooded after the first week. This bird is strongly migratory, spending the Northern Hemisphere winter mainly off the coasts of South Africa and Namibia, with some birds stopping in the seas adjoining West Africa, and a few remaining near their Mediterranean breeding islands. This petrel is strictly oceanic outside the breeding season. It feeds on small fish, squid, and zooplankton, while pattering on the sea’s surface, and can find oily edible items by smell. The food is converted in the bird’s stomach to an oily orange liquid, which is regurgitated when the chick is fed. Although usually silent at sea, the storm petrel has a chattering call given by both members of a pair in their courtship flight, and the male has a purring song given from the breeding chamber.
The Storm petrel cannot survive on islands where land mammals such as rats and cats have been introduced, and it suffers natural predation from gulls, skuas, owls, and falcons. Although the population may be declining slightly, this petrel is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as being of least concern due to its high total numbers. Its presence in rough weather at sea has led to various mariners’ superstitions, and by analogy, to its use as a symbol by revolutionary and anarchist groups.
See more information at Wikipedia, eBird and Fuglavefurinn.
Largest colony of Storm Petrel in Iceland can be found in Elliðaey Island, near Vestmannaeyjar island, south of Iceland, but they can also be found in small numbers in two other places in south and east Iceland.
When I and Bob McGuire and Marino Sigursteinsson arrived in Elliðaey the 5th of June 2018, we were not sure if the Storm Petrel had arrived. It was almost too early for their breeding season.
So it was a big success when suddenly at midnight the air was filled with flying Storm petrels. I never saw this tiny bird, even though they were all around my head. They flew extremely fast like bats and disappeared in holes in the ground, and in the load wall of the old shelter.
I started recording inside the shelter because it was like hundreds of birds were heavily busy in conversation inside the wall, but outside and behind the shelter was a low lava cliff, named Skápar also with interesting soundscape. So I started to recording with other recorder there too.
Sadly I spent to much time talking in too short distance behind the rig, so most of the recording is spoiled with human talking. It is sad because this fabulous Storm petrel soundscape did not last more than two or three hours before they all flew to the sea again.
The following recording is what is left of the recording without the human chat. So the best part of Storm Petrel is sadly missing. Instead other bird, very similar is common in this recording. It is Leach’s Storm Petrel which is audible throughout all the recording. More info in Wikipedia, eBird and Fuglavefurinn
Background noise is a rumble noise from a trawler. It was almost constant noise all the time we stayed on the island. Even though I did not see any ship around the island, the air was vibrating with this deep rumble engine noise.
It seems like I need to spent much more time in this remote island and record its biological soundscape. It change over the day, every months, spring, summer, autumn and winter. So just 24 hours is not enough. Same as with other nearby islands, which host different bird species and different soundscape.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at medium level.

( mp3 256kbps / 27,6Mb )

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20 AB40
Pix. LG G6
Location:  63.466924, -20.175122
Weather: Calm, misty & light shower, ca 12°C
Listen to the recording Elliðaey part1

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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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It was a BBC article „’Worrying alarm call’ for world’s birds on brink of extinction“ which reminded me about several recordings I have made of seabirds in cliffs. This recordings are not many or interesting, but who knows how this cliffs will sound in the future when the climate change has changed or destroied the livelihood for many bird species.
So what ever about the quality of this recording is, it can be valuable in the future. Just imagine if we had been given the opportunity to record the Great Auk before it became extinct in the mid- 19th century. It would have been wonderful.
We are loosing some animal species almost every month on the planet. So it is very important to record as much as we can of the biosphere now and in the future…even though it is as likely the recordings will disappeared after several years for just „technical reason“.
„Krýsuvíkurbjarg is a wave-cut cliff that rises from the sea in the lava of Krýsuvíkurhraun.
There are many bird nests found there, approximately 60,000 pairs consisting of 9 kinds of sea birds. The black-legged kittiwak (Rissa tridactyla) is the most common one, a common migrant found in many places in Iceland. It’s population in Iceland is estimated to be about 630.000 birds, what is an interesting fact since the population of people is only 330,000 in the country! The estimated number of kittiwaks in Krísuvíkubjarg is about 21,000 birds.
Common murre (Uria aalge) is a large auk also found in Krýsuvíkurbjarg. They make no nest, their single egg is incubated on a bare rock ledge on a cliff face. Their breeding can be very tight up to 70 birds on each square meter. Interestingly, the young are considered ready to leave their nest only three weeks old, but the male bird teaches the young how to hunt in the beginning. The estimated number of the Common murre in Krýsuvíkubjarg is about 20.000 birds
There are other kinds found on the cliff, but with smaller amounts of birds.The razorbill (Alca torda), The thick-billed murre (Uria lomvia). The northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis). The Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) can be found there, but is not as common as it is in Vestmannaeyjar. The European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis). The European herring gull (Larus argentatus) is there and the black guillemot or tystie (Cepphus grylle). Above the cliff edge other kinds can be found like the purple sandpiper (Calidris maritima) and The snow bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis).“ (discover.is)
This recording was made 11th of July 2016.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low level.

(mp3 256kbps/39Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 744
Mics: DPA4060 in „binaural“ setup
Pix: Canon EOS-M
Location: 63.832656, -22.091189
Weather: Cloudy, NW 3-5m/sec, 13°C

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