Northern Wheatear

I saw my first wheatear on the grass retaining bank near the car-park at Wilstone Reservoir near Tring.  It was a bracing spring day – clear skies, bright sunshine and a nipping wind that stung the cheeks as I searched the hedgerow for a singing chiff-chaff that had caught my…

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Meet the youngster

Over the last year or so, we have built a rather special relationship with a robin in our garden. The story is worthy of a longer post, but as a bit of a taster, here’s an image of the last fledgling from the multiple broods raised by ‘our’ robin this spring…

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Bitterns in flight

Lakenheath Reserve is one of our favourite places and on a visit back in June it was again the venue for a wonderful wildlife encounter. Leaving the car-park shortly before dawn, we made our way out at a steady pace through reed-beds alive to the sound of sedge and reed…

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Stone worship

My first memory of seeing Stonehenge, that most majestic of neolithic monuments that dominates the Salisbury Plain landscape just west of Amesbury in Wiltshire, was from the back seat of my parent’s white Rover as we sailed – or crawled – along the A303, the highway to the sun on our…

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Nightsounds – a wasp nest in the shed

This spring an overwintering queen wasp vespula vulgaris emerged from hibernation and chose our shed as the site to create her colony. Colonies are usually formed below ground, as was the case in 2015, when I made this recording by the entrance hole under one of our flowerbeds. After initially…

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Curlew Calling

Curlews are in trouble. Big trouble. There are now only  68,000 breeding pairs in the UK each summer and that figure is falling.  A 46% decline in their numbers in 16 years (1994-2010) has seen one of our most iconic birds become the most threatened. Karen Lloyd, a writer of creative…

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….. worth two in the bush

The chance to join a bird ringing session was an opportunity not to be missed, so when friend and fellow WSRS member Bill Parker mentioned he would be ringing later that week, in a conversation during our recent sound recording trip to Somerset, I was quick to ask if I…

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The Height of the Reeds: Humber Bridge, Hull

The vast Humber Bridge is the focus of a new artwork for Hull UK City of Culture 2017. Norwegian musicians Jan Bang, Arve Henriksen, guitarist Eivind Aarset and Hull-based sound recordist Jez Riley French have created an interactive soundtrack – The Height of the Reeds – for Opera North, to be listened…

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