27 March 2011
Since 2007, I have been making sound recordings using in-ear microphones to produce binaural audio walks and installations. Since March 2010, Ive been keen to use different methods of recording sound, particularly the sound of birds. With advice from Wildeye, Jez Riley and the Wildlife Sound Recording Society, I have purchased a parabolic dish from Telinga and a Rode NT55 compact condenser microphone. The parabolic dish acts as a focal point for sound to be captured by the microphone, it is such a powerful tool for recording bird song that it has been described as making the sound 10 times closer to the person recording the sound. It is a non- intrusive way of recording birds from a distance, without scaring them away. A parabolic dish is “an acoustical filter, approximately compensating for distance.”
Last weekend I went to several places to test out the recording equipment, including the Attenborough Nature Centre in Nottinghamshire, the canal in Leicester (Rally Park), Watermead Country Park and Bradgate Park.
Here’s some recordings from that weekend:
Attenborough Nature Reserve, with a train track nearby it can be quite noisy, but it was large enough to be able to record some decent bird songs/calls.
Attenborough 1: Approx 2 mins, Celebrating getting the new mic to work, blue tits, geese, horses, a wood pigeon flying past, magpie? and the water lapping at our feet.
Attenborough 2: Approx 1 min and my favourite recording from the day: Blue tits, geese, gulls and mallards!
Contact microphones pick up vibrations, rather than air pressure. Here is the sound of a contact microphone wrapped around a steel fence that is being pinged and slapped and also the placed on the throat area to pick up the vibrations of the voice box.
Steel smack and throat: Approx 1 min 30 secs
Canal in Leicester (Rally park), a bit dodgy but still one of my favourite places in Leicester. The recording was distorted because of the sound of the weir and the factory nearby. Ive not added the recording, as I can barely make out the sound of any wildlife, let alone the pigeons.
Watermead Country Park, a great place for bird watching and not bad for recording sound, although it is positioned next to a dual carriage way, so the sound of traffic can interfere with recordings. Recording coming soon.
Bradgate Park, the biggest park of all the above and the only one with wild deer and a dovecote. This is where I was able to record the sounds of the birds (and pigeons!) and a bee trying to push its way under the earth. Recording coming soon.