REGULAR VISITORS TO London Sound Survey may have noticed a new addition to the site in the form of a wildlife section. At the moment, almost all of the recordings are by xeno canto recordist Stuart Fisher, and are reproduced here under the terms of their original Creative Commons license. The dedication and patience of wildlife sound recordists is always impressive. Sounds in the human world are often laid on for you. Not so with animals.
Two recent attempts of mine to record wildlife sounds didn’t go well. The other morning I was up at around half past four to record birdsong in the local park. Instead of the tranquil scene hoped for, someone had heaped a large bonfire of sticks and rubbish against the back of a wooden garden fence, then set it alight. Not a soul was present except for a dog fox warming himself a few feet from the blaze. He looked round slowly at me and then back at the fire. It all felt dreamlike and puzzling until some aerosol cans in the bonfire began exploding. I slouched off home grumbling and called the Fire Brigade.
Today, I tried my luck at the Leg o’ Mutton reservoir in south-west London, recommended by the RSPB as a good spot for bird-watching. Bird-watching maybe, but not good for bird-recording, as it lies directly under the busiest flightpath into Heathrow. Of course, a quick look at the Sound grid would have confirmed this before setting off. Dear oh dear.