To achieve a recording of a subject in its soundscape context (which represents the acoustic photograph of the environment we are investigating), we need to use a stereo recording, better if a wide focused parabolic stereo microphone system.
By adopting the stereo configuration with the capsules positioned in a “non-traditional way”, quite outside of the focal point of the parabolic dish, Guido Pinoli and Gianni Pavan were able to obtain (at Pian di Spagna Como-Sondrio – I) an enlargement of the background sound scene, approaching the perfect stereophonic effect that is difficult to achieve when using a traditional parabolic microphone.
And now an excellent soundscape recorded on 2020-May-21 by Guido Pinoli at “Capanne di Marcarolo” nature park (Genoa) – I – Parabolic stereo Microphone, 33 cm Dish.
Last morning I was looking for some call or song of migratory birds that in this season migrate through our latitudes, when I was attracted, in audio headphones, by the buzz of an insect, a particularly “annoying” buzz. I directed my Sennheiser ME66 half shotgun directional microphone towards the sound source, by means of hearing, without first seeing what and what the subject was. Once the sound was focused, I noticed that it was emitted by a Hoverfly sp. laid on an Elderberry leaf.
That seemed unusual to me in that I had never noticed this behavior by the hoverflies, but I must say the truth that it is not a group of insects to which I have ever paid particular attention.
At first I thought of something inherent to a territorial / reproductive behavior.
I took some photos, made some short videos, but above all I made some audio recordings. Talking to my friend Cesare Brizio, particularly well versed in some groups of insects, he suggested a possible explanation for this phenomenon, assuming a sort of warming up before flying away in displacement and courtship.
Formulated this hypothesis, in the next days I devoted myself to a more accurate observation. Actually I was able to notice that, after having made some short flights, some subjects landed on the leaves exposed to the sun, almost imperceptibly vibrating the wings but at a considerable “speed”, at the same time emitting a particularly high hum in frequency with respect to the frequency in Hertz at which we are used to hearing the normal buzz of flight. This hum then tended to increase more and more in frequency until it reached a point where the subject suddenly took off, instantly changing the buzzing to the classic flight buzzing.
So, may be a behavior to be defined as described as a sort of warm up, or may it have to do with a territorial / reproductive behavior? In the absence of any bibliographical information, I will continue my observations, if only to satisfy my curiosity!
TETA – DIY Stereo Microphone – AOM 5024L capsules
Nightingales Duet song in a marshy environment
European green toad – Bufotes viridis – Rospo smeraldino
Recorded using a Telinga PIP parabolic microphone (Plug In Power, with direct power supplied by the Zoom H1 digital audio recorder).
Registrazione effettuata mediante l’utilizzo di un microfono parabolico Telinga PIP (Plug In Power, con alimentazione diretta fornita dal registratore audio digitale Zoom H1).
If we take in apart the aspect of its song, the Blackcap, Sylvia atricapilla, is a very crazy bird!
When we hear an unusual bird song, before thinking of any kind of bird unknown to us, it’ll be better if we exclude the possibility that it could be a Blackcap!
The Blackcap song is one of the least stereotyped that can be heard among the european birds, characterized by local dialectal variations. Moreover, it is frequently given in the form and with imitative phrases of other bird species, which generates further confusion for a correct ID.
Do we want to make life even more complicated? Let’s compare the song of the Blackcap to that of the Garden Warbler, Sylvia borin, and the damage is done!
PS For the Garden Warbler take a look at the images shown in reverse mode.
Se prendiamo in considerazione l’aspetto del canto, la Capinera, Sylvia atricapilla, è da considerarsi una specie veramente pazza!
Quando sentiamo un canto strano, prima di pensare a qualsiasi altra specie di uccello a noi sconosciuto, sarà meglio escludere la possibilità che possa trattarsi di una capinera. Il canto della capinera è uno dei meno stereotipati che si possano sentire tra gli uccelli europei, caratterizzato da notevoli variazioni dialettali locali. Inoltre, viene spesso emesso con frasi imitative di canti di altre specie di uccelli, il che genera ulteriore elemento confusione per una corretta identificazione.
Vogliamo renderci la vita ancor più complicata? Confrontiamo il canto della capinera con quello del beccafico, Sylvia borin, e la frittata è fatta!
PS Per il Beccafico vedere le immagini chiare riportate in modalità spettrogramma reverse.
A full song is normally structured with relatively short phrases
In the last decades we have seen a remarkable increase in subjects performing the so-called Leier song (from the Lira instrument), a song characterized by one or two notes repeated several times in the final part of the song phrase (see below).
Here a prolonged song, also known as plastic song
Below we have four examples of the specialty of the blackcap: the imitative song.
It’s easier to hear it during the spring migration.
Now a subsong of a juvenile bird, mainly hearing in autumn and winter.
It’s very soft, with very long and interminable phrases.
Finally a very curious and repetitive Blackcap song!
This is a subsong not so easy to record and particularly difficult to recognize: it is the song of a juvenile male of a Marsh Warbler, Acrocephalus palustris, about two months old, which already begins to emit its first singing phrases. In the last part of the file there is the generic call.
Questo è un sottocanto non facile da registrare e particolarmente difficile da riconoscere: è il canto di un giovane maschio di Cannaiola verdognola, Acrocephalus palustris, nato da meno di due mesi e già alle prese con le sue prime manifestazioni canore. Nell’ultima parte del file ci sono delle note di richiamo.
Adult birds of Marsh Warbler produce a complex song composed exclusively of dozens of imitations of songs and calls of other bird species, both of species found in Europe (nesting areas) and those found in South Est Africa (wintering quarters).
Gli adulti di Cannaiola verdognola producono un canto canto molto complesso, composto quasi esclusivamente da decine di imitazioni di canti e richiami di altre specie di uccelli, sia di specie presenti nell’areale di nidificazione europeo, sia nella zona si svernamento che si trova in Africa meridionale orientale.
PS – Audio files recorded using a DIY parabolic stereo microphone system.
Nightingale – Nocturnal Song
(Listening with headphones is a must!)
2. SASS with Audio Technica AT3032 Omnidirectional microphone – matched pair
Here the recording of the grasshopper Ringed Bush-cricket, Rhacocleis annulata, first for Northern Italy, which produces a call that is difficult to hear without the aid of a bat detector.
The first ten phrases using a bat detector; the second ten phrases using a Zoom H1 and an AOM5024 PUI microphone.
Below a recording using an ultrasonic USB microphone Ultramic 384k by Dodotronic.
For comparison, I also made a recording using a Zoom H1 recorder and an external DIY stereo microphone system with 2x Primo EM172 capsules.
Despite having a decidedly higher self-noise than the EM172 capsule, the 384k has proved to be more suitable for recording high frequencies, as it was likely to be expected.
note: I didn’t cut the passage of the car to highlight the difference at low frequencies.
In the background Oecanthus pellucens and Eupholidoptera schimdti
details of the “cerci”
Highlighted tipical rings of R. annulata
I wish to thank my friends Cesare Brizio e Filippo Maria Buzzetti for helping me in recognizing the species.