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The beginnings of a new collection of wildlife sounds courtesy of Stoke Newington-based recordist Richard Beard. Hear birdsong and the calls of other animals from parks, streets and gardens in and around the borough of Hackney.

There are four main areas in which recordings have been made: Abney Park cemetery, Stoke Newington, Springfield Park and Walthamstow Marsh. For the time being, links to all the sound files can be found further down this page.


My local area is an interesting mix of urban and rural environments – from the wetlands of the River Lea and its marshes to the mixed woodland of Abney Park cemetery, via the bustling streets of Hackney.

Having recorded here for many years I am always amazed, and often surprised, by the diversity of wildlife. My first recordings were probably of the ubiquitous Wren, a little bird with a loud, thrilling song. The most recent have been the Ring-necked Parakeets that have taken up residence in Springfield Park.

London is a noisy city and it is not always possible to achieve clear recordings of wildlife. This does not really worry me – wildlife co-exists so the noise is part of their lives too. But the challenge is to favour the species over London noise, a challenge I relish.

Richard Beard, 2012


Blackbird. Scientific name: Turdus merula. When: 8.12pm, 7 April 2012. Notes: Strange 'rough' quality to the song – as if the bird has a sore throat or impediment of the syrinx. Other species heard: Robin, Great Tit, Wren. Duration: 1:37.

Blue Tit. Scientific name: Cyanistes caeruleus (Parus caeruleus). When: 10am, 28 March 2006. Notes: Various calls followed by song. Duration: 1:02.

Chiffchaff. Scientific name: Phylloscopus collybita. When: 9.30am, 20 April 2007. Notes: Two-note call followed by three-note call from 1:06. Duration: 1:33.

Dunnock. Scientific name: Prunella modularis. When: 10am, 14 April 2004. Notes: Song. Duration: 0:41.


Great Spotted Woodpecker 2. Scientific name: Dendrocopos major. When: 10.50am, 29 April 2011. Notes: Loud 'tchick' call. Duration: 0:29.

Mistle Thrush. Scientific name: Turdus viscivorus. When: 10am, 19 March 2005. Notes: Typical repetitive song. Duration: 1:19.


Blackcap. Scientific name: Sylvia atricapilla. When: 9.48am, 16 April 2010. Notes: Display with typical song structure. Recorded while the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland had caused a no-fly zone above London. Duration: 1:38.

Carrion Crow. Scientific name: Corvus corone. When: 7.04am, 30 March 2010. Notes: Contact call. Other species heard: Great Tit, Wren. Duration: 0:42.

Chaffinch. Scientific name: Fringilla coelebs. When: 7.05am, 10 April 2008. Notes: One adult male producing typical song structure. Duration: 1:07.

Common Frog. Scientific name: Rana temporaria. When: 7.36pm, 11 March 2012. Notes: Eight or more frogs in garden pond either mating or in competition for mates. Duration: 0:49.

Fox 1. Scientific name: Vulpes vulpes. When: 10.19pm, 11 September 2006. Notes: Pair of foxes in garden with approach and close-up 'yelping' calls. Earlier that evening two foxes were seen by an open water butt containing three common frogs. Nagra stereo mic, Nagra Ares P2 recorder. Duration: 1:02.

Fox 2. Scientific name: Vulpes vulpes. When: 9.39pm, 19 June 2010. Notes: Aggressive calls with screeching, growling, snarling and whimpering. Duration: 1:25.

Great Spotted Woodpecker. Scientific name: Dendrocopos major. When: 6.22am, 19 April 2012. Notes: Sustained drumming by one adult in an urban garden. Duration: 1:52.

Great Tit 1. Scientific name: Parus major. When: 3.50am, 26 May 2007. Notes: Display song from an adult male perched in a tree, turning to vocalise in different directions. Duration: 0:49.

Great Tit 2. Scientific name: Parus major. When: 9.21am, 4 April 2010. Notes: Call and sound of strands being pulled from the Rycote windshield as the bird collected nest-building material. Duration: 1:45.

Magpie. Scientific name: Pica pica. When: May/Sept 2006, mid-am. Notes: Rattling calls and squawks. First part was recorded in May 2006, second part from 0:22 in September 2006. Duration: 1:01.

Robin. Scientific name: Erithacus rubecula. When: 6.40am, 9 February 2010. Notes: Display song with typical song structure, made while singing in an apple tree in a back garden, about one hour before sunrise. Duration: 2:00.

Song Thrush. Scientific name: Turdus philomelos. When: 5.58am, 20 March 2012. Notes: Typical song structure from one adult in a back garden. Duration: 2:16.

Swift. Scientific name: Apus apus. When: 7.16am, 17 July 2009. Notes: Mix of airborne adults and nestlings, recorded near a nest under the eaves of a house. Most of the noise is made by the airborne adults. Duration: 0:57.

Woodpigeon. Scientific name: Columba palumbus. When: 6.55am, 26 February 2012. Notes: Display song of one adult male with typical structure. Other species present: Goldfinch, Robin. Duration: 0:21.

Wren. Scientific name: Troglodytes troglodytes. When: 7.08am, 10 March 2012. Notes: This typical song of the Wren is not only extremely loud for such a small bird but is possibly the most common birdsong heard in London. Duration: 0:53.


Common Tern. Scientific name: Sterna hirundo. When: 6.06am, 30 April 2006. Notes: Flock calls in flight. Duration: 0:46.

Dawn Chorus. Scientific name: n/a. When: 4.42am, 30 April 2006. Notes: Songs of various birds recorded before sunrise, including Song Thrush, Blackbird, Wren, Woodpigeon, Reed Warbler and distant Tawny Owl. Duration: 3:09.

Garden Warbler. Scientific name: Sylvia borin. When: 10.48am, 24 May 2009. Notes: One adult male in a large copse of mixed trees, shrubs and undergrowth. Liquid, tumbling song with short pauses between each trophe. Duration: 0:49.

Greenfinch. Scientific name: Carduelis chloris. When: 10.30am, 19 March 2005. Notes: Stuttering and rolling song. Duration: 1:08.

Lesser Whitethroat. Scientific name: Sylvia curruca. When: 12.33am, 29 April 2011. Notes: Short, warbling song. Duration: 0:54.

Reed Warbler. Scientific name: Acrocephalus scirpaccus. When: 5.38am, 30 April 2006. Notes: Typical bubbling song. Duration: 1:52.

Sedge Warbler. Scientific name: Acrocephalus schoenobaenus. When: 11.12am, 29 April 2011. Notes: Ticking, churring and varied song. Duration: 1:39.

Song Thrush 2. Scientific name: Turdus philomelos. When: 5.56am, 30 April 2006. Notes: Varied song with much repetition. Duration: 1:51.

Whitethroat. Scientific name: Sylvia communis. When: 11.22am, 29 April 2011 . Notes: Short bursts of song. Duration: 2:36.

This concludes the list of Hackney wildlife recordings by Richard Beard.


Home page. Sound actions. Sound maps. About and contact.


Home page. London map. Sound actions. Sound maps. London wildlife. Historical. Blog. About. Say hello.

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