Thursday 16 April 2020

Another wader falls to nocmig

Last night I added Whimbrel to my patch list. I stayed awake for the third night on the trot, and this time was rewarded with more than a Mallard. I started at 10pm or thereabouts, but soon fell asleep - I was in bed by the way, with headphones. Don't get me started - in any event I plan to cover this and other nocmig-related things in a more detailed post. The microphone is outdoors, I am indoors. I am 45, anything else just isn't possible. However at 1am something woke me up, probably that bloody police helicopter again or one of the recently emboldened boy-racers, and from then until about half three I was all ears. At about 1.40am a series of calls I did not know but that screamed "wader" had me on my feet and at the balcony door. It was a long sequence and I caught the end of it. I prayed that the recorder was on and went back to my nice warm bed.

It was, and so in the morning I found this. So did Bob, who has an even longer sequence.

Here it is on the laser display board, and for listeners at home....

Whimbrel was actually my second choice, I am rather new to nocturnal flight calls. Have you heard Little Grebe at night? I had not, but as we have lots of Little Grebe here, there was more than a passing resemblance to their trill, and I had read that they were common on nocturnal recordings, I tried that. It wasn't quite right, and I found myself back at Whimbrel. Once again the internet and local birders were found to contain wisdom.

Ooof. A much-wanted local bird. Usually the conditions that drop them in are the sort that send me scurrying for home, and there are just two local records in recent years, albeit one was a flock of 33. This nocmigging thing is tremendously exciting, had it not been the middle of the night with a sleeping wife a few feet away my post-numenid celebrations would have been enormous. It is also unsustainable - I cannot function on less than eight hours sleep, and even less so when that sleep is broken. 

Lockdown has changed how I'm birding. I'm not out of the patch in the mornings at the moment, or indeed much at all, so I am missing out on the passerine migrants. Instead I'm listening at night and watching from the house. This is new and exciting, and when the replacements for Ring Ouzels, Wheatears and Whitethroats are sea ducks and waders in all honesty I am finding it difficult to be disappointed. I'd love to see the regulars of course, but I've found all of them before and the self-found element of noc-migging is quite compelling. Watch this space. Right, I'm off for a nap.


  1. It's frustrating that I can't view any of your recordings, all I get is "You need permission. Your request for access has been sent. You will receive an email if and when your request is approved." So I'm still waiting to see if my request will ever be approved, it's been a few days now. Meh, I know what a frippin' Whimbrel sounds like anyway.....Yours, Grumpy, way up North ;)

    1. Oh dear. Sorry. It must be the sharing settings. I'll see if I can tinker with them.

    2. I've put a "spectrovid" on youtube, can you tell me if you can see/hear it?

    3. A-ha! Bingo, I can see and hear it perfectly now, good stuff.

  2. Love the image created by the description of your nocmig 'arrangements'. Hilarious! Birders are just fruitcakes. 😊