13/06/18. Squeaky trees in Coille Langais during storm Hector.

It was going to be a very windy day on Uist, so I headed for the woods.  There aren’t many woods on north Uist, but there are some:  I went to Coille Langais (Langass woods) next to the ancient burial mound, Barpa Langais. These woods have a nice history; established in 1969 by the Forestry ...

June 2018. The sounds of water in the Cairngorms.

In her magnificent book, The Living Mountain, Nan Shepherd describes the contribution of water in its many forms to the unique character of the Cairngorms.   She celebrates its ever-presence in the landscape, and the various ways we experience it through all of our own senses. “On one short stretch of burn the ear may ...

09/06/18. Young Long Eared Owls. Dalmunzie Castle hotel estate. Glenshee, Cairngorm National Park.

I left my recorder and microphones on a ridge overlooking a small cluster of pine trees to capture the “squeaky gate” call of the young long eared owls. This short extract was from about 11:00pm; it was not yet dark, but the sun was down. The calls are from the young to their parents. They ...

20/05/18. Irish Ferry passes Skokholm.

One morning I went down to South Bay to try contact microphones on the rusted remains of the metal capstan on the dock; at least, I think that’s what it is!  There was a deep rumbling.  And it was just as intense if I put the microphones directly on the concrete of the dock itself.  ...

12/06/18. Tigh a’ Ghearraidh, nr. Hosta, North Uist.

An evening spent on the beach in this isolated spot just north of the extraordinary RSPB Balranald nature reserve on North Uist.   The beach is close to a well-known blowhole, though the tide was out when I went, and so unfortunately I couldn’t find this spot. The beach was wonderfully noisy; lots of Oyster ...

12/06/18. Fence at Barpa Langais, North Uist.

Contact microphones provide a new insight into sound – especially sound produced by the wind and other forms of vibration that are otherwise hard to capture with more traditional microphones.   The barbed-wire fence enclosing the Barpa Langais (burial chamber) is particularly well sited; facing the north wind directly and being more exposed by being ...

12/06/18. Garden Tiger Moths eating Hawkbit; Barpa Langais, North Uist.

Beautiful woolly, hairy moth caterpillars in large numbers to be found on the grounds of the Barpa Langais (ancient burial mound at Langass, near Lochmaddy).   I had been recording the sound from a nearby fence when I saw these caterpillars at my feet, voraciously consuming hawkbit leaves.  The yellow hawkbit flowers look a little ...

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