19/5/17. Early May morning, Titley Pool, Herefordshire.

Early May morning recording at Titley Pool of displaying ducks, geese, swans, coots and others.

Titley Pool is a nature reserve in Titley, about 10 minutes from Presteigne. It is one of the largest body of water in Herefordshire, having been formed during the last ice age. Apparently it is very popular with winter birds; but less so in Spring and early Summer. I sat in the woods behind the hide; I wanted to capture the woodland birds and the water birds together.
As soon as I started recording (around 4:30) I heard some piggy-like noises; grunting. I thought it was a woodcock perhaps. So I asked some people on the RSPB community website, and they suggested it was frogs! I’m still not certain.
The sounds from the pool are quite dramatic; I think there is a lot of displaying going on the water. Heavy wing beats. Paired displays of two birds coming together and flapping around in wide arcs, half in and half out of the water (not quite flying off, just moving around quickly). Lots of swans and geese and coots. The woods behind, in which I was sitting were also very active.
There is a regular ‘knocking’ sound. I have no idea what that is.
After recording I went and sat in the blind and watched the remaining geese and swans and coots. Many of the geese had flown off in small groups of 2-5 – always with a boisterous display. But a few groups were still there, and I watched them leave. The swans glided back into the centre of the pool. In the fringes, near the far bank, I could see a group of coots displaying to each other. It reminded me of watching black grouse lekking, except the coots do it in water, and the grouse grassland openings. The coots would swim towards each other; wings displayed, heads down. Then around; and then a couple would have a bit of a mock fight; again, just like the black grouse.
Recorded 4:30, 19/05/17.   There is a little aircraft noise on this.

 

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