I often happen on something of interest during my forays and this tale is about a little incident on my last outing. I often monitor bats with a full–spectrum recording technique and I spend a lot of time listening in the darkness during these sessions. Over the years, I have heard many nocturnal sounds, although seldom near the fixed microphone position.
I was recording on Shotesham Common in South Norfolk, last weekend. The dry areas are rough, summer grazing for a herd of beef cattle. Serotine Bats forage for invertebrates on the cowpats and I target them repeatedly, trying to get a well-modulated sample for a clean spectrogram and their wing-clapping display flight.
I was retrieving my equipment in the darkness, when I was surprised to hear a Common Sandpiper call from the Shotesham Beck, a minor tributary of the River Tas. Luckily, my full-spectrum recorder was still running and the call registered, although distant from the microphone. I happened to know that this species had not been recorded locally and later, I was able to extract a very weak signal from a noisy sound floor and provide evidence of identification; another species for the local parish list !
Meanwhile, the next day I heard a mystery call near the same spot. I suspect Little Ringer Plover, but on this occasion, my recorder was not deployed. It is early July and hardly the migration season, but clearly many species are starting to move. Listen here for the brief sequence uttered by the Common Sandpiper