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Vol 14 No 3 2018 Spring Cover Thumbnail Web

In the current edition:

Officers Reports

Annual Sound Competition Results
Obituaries

The Early Days

Memories and Reflections
Richard Margoschis

Research

British Birds:  1970 - 2016
Man-made noise: How birds cope

Equipment & Technique

Wildlife Recording for £50
Figure of 8 Microphones & MS
Bugging a Nest Box
Ambisonics:
An Introduction to Ambisonics
Comparing Ambisonic Microphones

Local Meeting Reports

Burnham Deepdale, Norfolk
Wicken Fen, East Anglia
Caerlaverock

Features

More than Machair: the Hebrides
Green Grass of Far-Flung Places
Is Birdsong Music?
The Melodious Blackbird
The Puzzle of Vocal Mimicry
Mimicry of the Barn Swallow
Wildlife Sound Records

Travelogues

Myanmar - a Travellerís Tales
Recording Expedition to Senegal

Regular Columns

Where to Record - Gorple Reservoir
Letter from Utopia
Notes from the British Library
Dispatches from America
Volunteers Wanted
WSRS membership Survey
Forthcoming Meetings & Events
Data Protection
Loan Kit

journal logoSpring 2018 Edition

50th Anniversary Edition 1968 - 2018

The latest edition of the journal should have dropped through the letterboxes of UK members almost fifty years to the day after the Society was first formed, at its inaugural meeting over the weekend of 30 and 31 March 1968.  We are therefore pleased to be able to bring you several pieces specially penned for this golden jubilee edition, including one by John Burton, the Societyís first chairman, which brings a new perspective on the events which led to the formation of WSRS and developments in the years thereafter, including the close links at the time with the BBC Natural History Unit.  The journal also profiles one of the key founding members, Richard Margoschis, and includes a reprint of an article he wrote in 1984 on Recording Natural History Sounds, which presents an interesting portal on the equipment and techniques in use at that time.

Many things have changed over the last half century and it has been fascinating to look back through the archives during the preparation of this special 50th anniversary edition of Wildlife Sound.  We have witnessed dramatic advances which could surely not have been anticipated by the founding members, back in 1968.  The technology now used for editing our recordings, the use of highly portable, low-cost, solid state digital recording equipment, the software used to analyse the sounds of whole ecosystems; these were then the stuff of Star Trek.

One thing, however, that has not changed significantly is something which is surely the most important part of what we practise, and that is fieldcraft.  Richard Margoschis himself used to observe that recording wildlife was a matter of luck.  He would point out that one had no control over the ìtalentî in our huge, open-air studio, and the best laid plans could come to nothing.  But whilst there were no certainties, he held that the skill of the wildlife recordist was to push the odds as far as possible in his or her favour, so that when luck came, he or she was ready.  That requires fieldcraft - thoroughly knowing oneís subject, anticipating behaviour, placing microphones in the best spot, being there at the best time, etc.  In short, it is about being a skilled naturalist - and there is no substitute for that.  So, as we reflect on what has changed, reading in this edition of budget recorders, ambisonic recording, and travels and adventures in distant places which were hardly accessible 50 years ago, we may reflect and even take reassurance that the core of our craft remains the same.

The Spring 2018 journal is the largest ever released, running to 94 pages cover-to-cover.  Although we look back, we have not done so at the expense of a full package of current material, and take you far and wide in terms of behaviour, location and technique; hopefully offering something for all interests. 

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