Tuesday 4 August 2020

Sandpiper Central

Whilst my mobile recording has not yet borne fruit, my nocmig recordings are beginning to do the business. Teething problems behind me, I have recorded two new species for the garden in three days, and that is with the microphone plonked in a bucket. Imagine when I mount it on the roof! The sky is quite literally the limit.

Waders. Specifically, Sandpipers. Two nights ago, perhaps two nights after the party fail, my little box of electronic tricks picked up this.

A Common Sandpiper swee-sweeing its way south. Or west. Actually I don't know, it is not easy to tell where exactly the sounds start and stop. The microphone was angled into the south-west sky, so my best guess it that the bird was travelling roughly north-east to south-west as the recording was quite long which means it stayed close to the "cone" for quite a while and got louder towards the middle. Pure conjecture. 

And then last night it picked up this, a single call, indeed the only call of note in six hours of scrolling through 24 second chunks.

A Green Sandpiper, the clear recording suggests it was perhaps quite close, but perhaps travelling in a different direction? Or it may have called only once and I just got lucky? Who can say. Initially I though it was another Common Sandpiper, but now that I am building a library of sounds I was able to go back and examine my earlier recording which showed that this bird had a lower fequency - whereas the Common Sandpiper topped out at 6.5 kHz or thereabouts, this one barely got above 5 kHz. Frequency seems to vary with distance but both recordings were of roughly the same clarity and volume. And then Hawky told me it was Green Sandpiper which helped enormously....

Needless to say both of these are garden ticks. That is to say the garden has ticked them and I have not. In the case of Green Sandpiper that would be quite a useful year tick, so I am planning to stay up for a few nights and see if I get lucky. Both birds went over at times that were still bordering on reasonable, especially with snacks and dare I say it a mid-week drink - midnight and half midnight respectively. Autumn has started.

Right, I'd better go order some more coffee and Bombay Mix.


  1. Green Sand, you jammy beggar! I live in hope...

    Meanwhile, a Common Sand was my only migrant last night, at 03:20. I shan't be staying up.

    My garden has nailed Common Sand 11 times, compared to my own zero times.

    1. I'm still waiting for my Night Heron, Nightjar, Stone Curlew.....

    2. Surely any day now...
      Though yes, fair point. 😄