Redshank Rising by Simon Gillings
Visiting the high tide roost at Snettisham on The Wash has been one of my favourite birding experiences for many years, and since starting sound recording, I have wanted to record the sounds made by the flocks of birds as they move with the tide. The problem is, it's usually too windy. Approaching Snettisham on the morning of the 3rd August 2019 I was momentarily disappointed to see banks of mist - it was going to be hard to see the waders in those conditions. But then I realised that also meant there was very little wind and I stood a good chance of getting some nice sound recordings. I wanted to try out a home-made winged array which I hoped would give a nice stereo effect if I could get close enough to the birds. I positioned my equipment (EM172 pair in winged array on a short 30cm tripod and MixPre-3 recorder) in the edge of the scrubby vegetation a few hundred metres south of the encroaching tide, hoping that I'd pick up some of the Dunlin flocks as they were pushed further south and over the beach. In fact most of the Dunlin stayed further out on the mud, but I was treated to close flybys of Redshank as they were pushed out of the filling creek, with a backdrop of distant Greylag Geese, Oystercatchers, patrolling Common Terns and a Wren singing in the nearby brambles. Knot, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Pied Wagtail and Linnet also make an appearance. For such a simple piece of equipment, I was really pleased with the stereo effect, especially from the wingbeats of passing birds.