Saturday, 27 November 2021

The Phil More's Corner Podcast - Series 2 Episode 12

We had the great pleasure to interview multi-award winning sound recordist Simon Elliott.  Simon specialises in  high quality, close up wildlife vocabulary recordings and shares with us some of his favourite pieces from a lifetime of recording the natural soundscape. He takes us from the Scottish Highlands (Osprey, Capercaillie and Golden Eagle) to The Great Barrier Reef (Wedge-tailed Shearwaters) and even a carpark in Costa Rica (Montezuma Oropendola). 
Get those headphones out as this is a special one!

Sunday, 7 November 2021

The Phil More's Corner Podcast - Series 2 Episode 11

Back after a two month hiatus. No guests or special topics this time, just the four lads winging it and trying hard to salvage something from a less than vintage autumn.

Friday, 17 September 2021

Nocmig update

Its been a while since I pulled together my last full 'nocmig' update, mid-May in fact (Local is where its at). So, before autumn migration gets into full swing I thought I'd better take stock.

Since 15th May I've been steadily putting my parabolic microphone out most nights, OK I took a little break during most of June but started again in earnest at the end of that month in anticipation of returning waders and have pretty much stuck at it since then. In fact, I recorded a total of 61 nights out of 95 nights, so if I don't count June that's about 64% of the time.

The above bar chart is probably the easiest way to tell you what I've been seeing. Waders feature prominently as you'd expect. Oystercatcher being the most frequent, but I suspect they are local birds. Common Sandpiper has been the next most frequent with 13 occurences and most of these in the second 2 weeks of August. I especially like this recording, accompanied by a local soccer match.


Curlews moved through in late June and early July and the first Whimbrel appeared in late July but were more frequent in the second half of August.


Dunlin started appearing again in mid-September and so far I've recorded them on 5 nights. In July and August it was pretty easy to find Green Sandpipers in some local wader spots (Potter Heigham, Hickling and Buckenham Marshes for example) but to my surprise I only recorded them once on nocmig. But, a nice vocal individual at that.


The much hoped for Wood Sandpiper never materialised and they've mostly gone through by now. 

However, there were a few surprises such as this Common Ringed Plover (scarcer it seems in Norwich than Little Ringed Plover).


and my first Gadwall went over one night in early September.


 Plus I had Sandwich Tern on two ocassions in mid-August.


What is so far my nocmig highlight of the year was this Tree Pipit which passed over the garden at 2.18am on Monday 13th September.


Soon we will be in the business end of the autumn for passerine migration. What can I expect? Well, Redwing of course, next month their 'tseep' calls will begin to fill the night sky. Song thrush too and Fieldfare if I'm lucky. I guess there's an outside chance of a returning Ring Ouzel to add to the two birds I got in the spring and if I vizmig after dawn I should start get some winter finches such as Brambling, Chaffinch, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll, I'll keep all fingers crossed for Hawfinch. If that fails at least the local Tawny Owls should continue to get more vocal as we head into November.

Sunday, 5 September 2021

The Phil More's Corner Podcast - Series 2 Episode 10

Our little Podcast has reached its 21st epsiode and what better way to mark this milestone than by sitting down to chat with one of the finest out there, none other than Yoav Perlman. He tells us about his formative years birding in Israel, we reminisce on his time studying and birding in the UK and some of his favourite memories from those days. We talk about his blog, his photography and his collaboration and deep friendship with the late Martin Garner. There's also his 'Big Year' and of course the excellent 'Champions of the Flyway'.  An episode not to be missed.

Thursday, 5 August 2021

The Phil More's Corner Podcast - Series 2 Episode 9

Back to what we know best as we talk sound recording, nocmig and lots more with author, expert sound recordist and ecologist Stanilas Wroza.

Monday, 2 August 2021

Best Western

I only ever seem to visit RSPB Snettisham to twitch rare birds. I shouldn't need a rare bird as a reason to visit as its a very fine reserve. I've a good record there too - 100% sucessful. Broad-billed Sandpiper in 2015, Snowy Owl and Semipalmated Sandpiper in 2018 and now Western Sandpiper. I've yet to dip and have probably just cursed myself with those very words. 

Myself, Nick and John Geeson drove up to meet the incoming tide on the afternoon of Friday 23rd July, the day after it was found. On arrival I have to say, that despite many birders, I wasn't feeling too optimistic that it'd be re-found. There were thousands of Dunlin out on the mud and I mean thousands, constantly moving, jittery and very mobile. A lovely spectacle to watch as the flocks wheeled and turned in the air but how on earth was anyone going to dig a Western Sandpiper out of that lot. Well, turns out someone did and I enjoyed decent if not slightly distant views.

                                        Western Sandpiper - Snettisham, Norfolk - 23rd July 2021

There were better photos of course, these are just for the record. You can at least see the size difference between it and the adjacent Dunlin and Sanderling. Once the bird had been pinned down and seen well, it was just nice to carry on scanning through the flocks of waders, reminded me of birding back in Cork. Red Knot (many), Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Curlew, Whimbrel and a breeding plumage Curlew Sandpiper. Plus plenty of both adult and juvenile Common, Little and Sandwich Terns. I didn't see the Roseate Tern (or Terns) but no matter.

This was my first Western Sandpiper away from the Americas. I've seen ones in Panama in 2009, feeding out on the mud at Costa del Este in Panama City and a year later, a single bird on a small pool on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, Ecuador. I even managed a photo of that one - it was June so I guess it was a non-breeding bird first summer bird.

                                        Western Sandpiper, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, Ecuador - June 2010

Of course, there's another reason to remember this most recent visit to Snettisham. Once the bird had been seen, it all got a bit social, lots of birders milling around chatting and catching up. Even by Norfolk standards, there was a "bit o' craic". As we left the throng and started our long trudge back to the car I turned around to wait for Nick and took this quick shot.


He won't mind me saying this I hope, but its good to see a smile on his face again, signing off on possibly his last Norfolk twitch before starting a new chapter down in Cornwall. If you've read his blog you'll possibly know he's had a recent health scare An unexpected journey. However, things are certainly looking brighter now and it was good to see him in high spirits once again.

Thursday, 29 July 2021

The Phil More's Corner Podcast - Series 2 Episode 8

We were very excited to have the opportunity to sit down and chat with one of the finest bird artists out there. Hans Larsson tells us how his interest in birds and drawing first began. He talks about his collaborations with Klaus Malling Olsen illustrating the identification guides to Terns, Skuas and Jaegers and Gulls of Europe, North America and Asia and more recently on the much anticipated "Seabirds - The New Identification Guide"  with Peter Harrison and Martin Perrow.