Filosofisk Film/Philosophical Film

Birds and birdsong on film

Svensk text kommer förhoppningsvis snart!


Nowadays you can see a great number of birds in excellent nature films on many different media. There are also extremely good sites for birdsong, and there are artificial intelligence gadgets that you can install on your smartphone to help you recognize a bird from its song. What is still not too common is birds filmed when singing. However, seeing and hearing a close-up film clip of a singing bird is not only a great experience but can give you a quite new understanding of both the bird and the song.

At least, so I think. Beginning in 2009 I have therefore been filming birds, not all of them true mastersingers but most nice to listen to anyhow. I have often used powerful telephoto lenses, and the sound was always recorded at the same time as the picture, usually with high quality. The sound volume differs so be prepared to adjust it. Many of the filmed birds do not produce any sounds except possibly different types of calls, but putting them on a separate page (as in the previous version of this site) would create an unnatural border.

I am not an ornithologist but a lover of nature and birdsong. So many videos here are of quite common birds that just happen to sing beautifully and/or interestingly, and/or are nice and/or interesting to look at. There are a few truly rare birds on this page, but last year I stumbled upon two by chance (2018).

Obviously, the short videos that you find below are (with a few possible exceptions) not meant as complete movies but only as material for future productions. The clips are a heterogeneous lot both contentwise and technically. Presently they are chronologically organized (that's the easiest way for me) on a single page, but I am considering several other alternatives. For example, there could be a species list here with links to the videos. Please tell me what you think! In the meantime, here is the chronology:

2009  2010  2011  2012  2013  2014  2015  2016  2017  2018  2019

A number of videos from 2009–2011 were shot with the great Canon HV-20 and its good microphone DM-50. Between late 2010 and mid-2015 my main camera was a Canon XL-H1A, often with a Canon FD(L) 100–300 mm lens. A Telinga parabola with Pro 5W handle and Stereo DAT microphone was and is regularly used for the sound. The flying cranes (flygande tranor) movie in 2012 and the Northern Wheatears (stenskvättor) in 2014 were made with the versatile XH-A1s plus the Telinga. In late 2015, a Panasonic GH4 became my first camera, presently it is a GH5.

The first video editing was done with Final Cut Express but most has been done in Final Cut Pro Studio (FCP7). The Messina movie from 2015 was done as an exercise in FCPX, which I hope to learn some day... Static or dynamic sonograms made with Izotope RX/RXII and Debut v. 1.83 have been added to some of the movies. See below, movies and links marked with ® and red text.

All the movies are actually located on Vimeo and embedded on my site. This has the advantage that you can use all the Vimeo buttons, for example to show the movie in full screen mode. The movies are not downloadable and not embeddable anywhere else, but the Share via Email button (the paper swallow) works.

You may find some more bird movies on my Vimeo page, but there is a reason why they are not on this site.


2009

In these first clips you see a flock of Alpine Swifts (sv: Alpseglare) and hear their characteristic sound, which is quite different from that of the Common Swift (tornseglare, see below). Capo Caccia, Sardinia, early May 2009. Camera: Canon HV-20, probably with wide angle lens and microphone DM-50. Some noise reduction performed with Izotope RXII, but you still hear the sea and people (with dogs) standing around. For some context, see the page for Project Segelberg!



Common Swifts (tornseglare, "tornsvalor") are common both in southern Europe and in the North. Here are some 3 seconds from Alghero, Sardinia in early May 2009 (camera: Canon HV-20), then some 14 seconds from Hålanda, Sweden on around 1 August 2010 (camera: Canon XL-H1A), and finally some 4 seconds from Hålanda in the evening of 1 July 2011 (also XL-H1A). Note the sound of the wings when the swifts just miss you.


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2010

On this video you cannot see any birds, but hopefully hear a lot. The Sardinian soundscape is as fascinating as the landscape. Here an early morning near Oliena, Sardinia, May 2, 2010. European bee-eaters (biätare), European turtle doves (turturduvor) and a lot of other voices are heard. Canon HV-20 with, I think, wide-angle extension lens and DM-50 mic. For some context, see the page for Project Segelberg!



Our place in Hålanda is something of a "cold hole". In this early movie of the Common Cranes (tranor) that nest not far away, you can see the calling bird's breath condensing in the chilly morning air. Hålanda, Sweden June 18 2010, Canon HV-20 at maximum zoom and with DM-50 mic (I think), from our window.


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2011

In late January 2011. Science writer Torgny Nordin and I were in Geneva to interview the head of the Botanical Garden, Adelaide Stork. For context see http://captainmnemo.se/audiovisual/segelberg.html#Geneva. The icy pavement along Lake Geneva was difficult to walk on, but it was worth while because of all the wintering birds. You here see (in chronological order) an adult Great Crested Grebe (skäggdopping), an Eurasian Coot (sothöna), a young Great Crested Grebe, a female Goosander (storskrake), a bad-tempered Red-crested pochard (rödhuvad dykand), the female Goosander again, a male Goosander, and finally a Grey Wagtail (forsärla). Camera: handheld Canon HV-20, partly with wide angle or tele converter lenses, and with DM-50 microphone. Some image stabilization done as well as some noise filtering (last sequence).



Back to Sweden. Here a long-distance shot of Ring Ouzel (Swedish: Ringtrast) in its typical habitat. Storådörren, Härjedalen, mid-June 2011. Canon HV-20 with Canon TLH43 Tele Converter Lens – not as good as the wide angle one – and Canon DM-50 microphone. Windy (noisy) conditions. – A lot more from Storådörren below!




Willow warbler (lövsångare), an early attempt in June 2011. XL-H1A with standard 20x zoom lens and inbuilt mic. Höga, Hålanda, Sweden. There are several more willow warbers below.




Black-cap (svarthätta), Steninge, Halland July 2011. Canon XL-H1A, original lens & inbuilt mic, some filtering with Izotope RX. I am not extremely proud of this video but have not been able to capture this species better since then. At least you get some idea of its song.



The year of 2011 was a great "lemming year" in the Swedish mountains, good for the owls. The long-tailed jaegers (fjällabb,  Stercorarius longicaudus) were also abundant. A couple of them nested near our camp in Storådörren, Härjedalen in early August 2011, and they watched us closely when we were packing to leave. XL-H1A, standard 20x zoom lens.


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2012

Flying common cranes (tranor). This short clip is part of the first rcording I made with the XH-A1s and a specially designed mount for this camera together with the Telinga parabola. From 0:03 it shows how well the parabola picks out the chatting of two flying tranes at quite a distance, in the midst of sounds from thousands other birds and a host of people standing very close to the photographer and talking aloud.




European Pied Flycatcher (svartvit flugsnappare) presenting some variations on his characteristic melody. Hålanda, 4 May 2012. In the audience: a tree pipit (trädpiplärka). Camera: XL-H1A, mainly inbuilt optics but one scene with Canon FD 100–300 mm zoom lens. Sound: Telinga Pro 5 with Stereo DAT mic.




Song thrush
(Sv: Taltrast). Hålanda, Sweden, 26 May 2012. One might think that this very common bird, or at least the individuals that live near settlements and are used to seeing and hearing human beings, should be an easy target for photo and film. In my experience this is not the case. The bird is quite shy, and if it spots you even at a long distance it leaves at once. This recording is of 6 consecutive minutes. Video: Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300 mm lens. Sound: Telinga Pro 5 parabola with stereo DAT mic, recorded on the HDV tape.




Whitethroat
, May 28, 2012, Hålanda. The Swedish name Törnsångare (Thorn singer) is really fitting! The sequence ends with a meadow pipit (ängspiplärka) that listens to the whitethroat and responds in its own way. XL-H1A first with standard 20x zoom lens, then with Canon FD 100-300mm. Sound: Telinga Pro 5 with stereo DAT mic.



Next follow three movies/clips from a trip to Storådörren, Härjedalen, Sweden in June 2012. I hoped to find singing bluethroats (blåhakar, Luscinia svecia), and was not disappointed. The second night the tent stood in the middle of their playground. They seemed not to bother, and gave me many examples of their remarcable sound repertoire.

Imitating bluethroat (blåhake som imiterar). A bluethroat trying to imitate a brambling (bergfink) (heard initially). At the fourth or fifth attempt he hits the keynote but the ring is still not perfect. See the sonogram below the clip. Do the final shouts express satisfaction or dissatisfaction? Storådörren, Härjedalen around June 10, 2012. Video: Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300 mm lens. Sound: Telinga Pro 5 with stereo DAT mic,





® Blue bubbles. Storådörren, Härjedalen early June 2012. This 4 minutes continuous recording of a quickly moving bluethroat is not so much a video as a soundtrack with a few successful video parts attached. As usual it was very difficult to spot the singing bluethroat with the long tele lens (equivalent to 2.200 mm), and even more difficult to keep track of him when he moved. Beside the bluethroat's many imitations and other more or less peculiar sounds (including the bubbling starting at 1'9") you can hear a real cuckoo, (very faintly) a willow warbler and a reed bunting, and finally (more close) some very real mosquitos. Camera: Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300mm. Sound: Telinga Pro V with Stereo DAT mic, recorded directly on the film. Running sonogram created with Izotope RXII and Debut.




Here is a longer bluethroat movie. Or maybe rather: a collection of clips from my trip to Storådörren, Härjedalen, Sweden in June 2012. Camera: Canon XL-H1A with standard 20x zoom/Canon FD 100-300mm. Sound: Telinga Pro V with Stereo DAT mic, recorded directly on the film.




Then back to home. Here is a family of Eurasian Hobby falcons (lärkfalkar). 14 August 2012, Hålanda, Sweden. Camera: First sequences Canon XH-A1s, then XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300 lens, Telinga Pro V with Stereo DAT mic. See also below (2014)!




Short-eared owl (jorduggla). On the evening of August 14, 2012, a shorted-eared owl kindly chose to hunt near our house in Hålanda. I used the XL-H1A and a 100-300 mm Canon FD lens to capture the feeling of its flight. Some digital zoom was added to the first part.




Barn swallows (ladusvalor). "Our" beloved barnswallows in Hålanda, May and August 2012. Camera: Canon HV-20 (singing swallow), XH-A1s (first feeding clip), XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300 mm (the rest). No sound during the first seconds. More barn swallows below.


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2013

Song thrush (taltrast) singing from the top of a fir, evening of 21 april 2013, Hålanda. Yes, a favourite! And he was sitting still... Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD at an equivalent focal length of 2.200 mm, Telinga Pro 5 parabole mic.




® European robin, with dynamic sonogram. Singing robin and the running sonogram of his song. Hålanda, April 21 2013, late afternoon. In the background, among others, a song thrush, the same as in the previous clip. Camera: Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300mm. Sound: Telinga Pro V with Stereo DAT mic, recorded directly on the film. Running sonogram created with Izotope RXII and Debut. Note the very high frequencies (up to 20 KHz) used.



Next come two clips from a trip to Öland in early May 2013: first a Spotted Flycatcher (grå flugsnappare). In sharp contrast to his black-and-white cousin, the spotted flycatcher sings in a very low voice. However, this recording is something of a mystery: although the parabole is aimed at him, and you can see his throat moving, it is very difficult to distinguish any song of his from the background. It could be a case of "silent song" (see below), or he may have some throat problem. Camera: XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300mm lens. Sound: Telinga Pro 5W with Stereo DAT mic. No filtering of either picture or sound; the background "noise" is the sound of the sea east of Öland.




Then a Common Ringed Plover (större strandpipare) taking a long and hopefully refreshing early May bath at the west coast of Öland. Camera: Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300mm, effective focal length 2.200 mm. Windy conditions. Sound: Telinga Pro 5 with stereo DAT microphone, unfiltered.



A white stork visited Båljen, Hålanda on May 28, 2013 and stayed for a long while not far from our house. As you can hear, the lapwings (tofsviporna) were rather upset by its presence. The weather was rather cloudy but the sun shines through just before it takes to its wings. Camera: First Canon XH-A1 with maximum zoom, then Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD (100–)300 mm lens. Sound: inbuilt microphones.

The stork was still around next day according to our neighbours. Another white stork was seen at Kinnekulle, around 100 km from here, on the same two days. None of them had a ring. Since a strong wind had been blowing from the East they probably belong to a Baltic population.




Then another willow warbler (lövsångare, 1 June 2013, Stensjö Strand, Halland). A blackbird sings too (see next clip). Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300 mm lens. At this occasion the Telinga device was on service so the inbuilt microphone was used (mono recording). This is why the blackbird completely dominates the sound picture.



The Common Blackbird (koltrast) is perhaps Sweden's most well known and most beloved songbird. Here it sings against a background of other voices including a willow warbler (lövsångare) and a thrush nightingale (näktergal). Listen as closely as the blackbird does, and you will here them too! Steninge, Halland, June 1, 2013 around 20.00. Camera: Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD (100-)300 mm lens. The inbuilt microphone (mono recording) was more than sufficient to catch the blackbird's strong voice. Some noise filtering has been done.


For the same clip but with a running sonogram added, see https://vimeo.com/334068376.

Many clips and movies at my site are from the famous resting place for birds, and bird watching place for others, Morup's Tånge, in Halland at the Swedish West Coast. The pied avocet (svenska: skärfläcka) plays a leading role in this little movie from June 2, 2013. So does an anxious northern lapwing (topsvipa). You can also see for example common redshanks (rödbenor), a couple of common shelducks (gravänder) demonstrating their own special rituals, and many Eurasian oystercatchers (strandskator). Note in the third of the oystercatcher scenes how he/she rinses the sandworms in water before eating them! Also, one European golden plover (ljungpipare) and a few late migrants: two dunlins (kärrsnäppor) and one little stint (småsnäppa).




Much more from Morup later. Next come a set of fours clips from a visit to the equally famous Lake Tåkern on June 16–17 2013.

Spotted Redshanks (svartsnäppor), evening of June 16, 2013. A very long distance take from Glanäs at Lake Tåkern of four Spotted Redshanks; the fourth is seen at the end. They are surely females resting on their way south, and were the first ones noted here this summer. It is interesting to see that they actually swim, not only walk on the bottom. Camera: Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300mm, effective focal length 2.100 mm. Sound: Telinga Pro 5 with stereo DAT microphone, unfiltered (and loud, beware!).



Common Teals (krickor) at Hof, lake Tåkern, Östergötland, listening (?) to a Great Reed Warbler (trastsångare), a Great Bittern (rördrom, twice) and a European Reed Warbler (rörsångare, faint, at the end). Evening of June 17, 2013. Camera: Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300 mm, sound: Telinga Pro 5 with stereo DAT mic, some noise filtering.



In the next clip, the main character is not seen. We hear a Great Bittern (rördrom), Hof, Lake Tåkern, evening of June 17, 2013. Camera: Canon XL-H1A, sound: Telinga Pro 5 with stereo DAT microphone, unfiltered. During the first ten+ seconds one can clearly hear the inspirational phase, compare the sonogram! A Great Reed Warbler (trastsångare) also makes itself heard a few times.

Why camera? Well, to convey the feeling...  The bird that takes off and lands at the end is not a bittern.




A Great Spotted Woodpecker (större hackspett) feeding its young near Hof, Tåkern, Östergötland on June 17, 2013. Camera: Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300 mm, sound: Telinga Pro 5 with stereo DAT mic. A lot of traffic noise, unfiltered.



Now a scene from Jämtland, north of Härjedalen and actually in the geographical middle of Sweden. It is a Common griffin (enkelbeckasin), displaying from the top of a fir. I have not been able to identify the sound at the end. Hästskotjärn, Vålådalen, June 26, 2013. Camera: Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300 mm, sound: Telinga Pro 5 with stereo DAT mic. Some noise filtering.



Let us visit Morup's Tånge again, 25 July 2013. An anxious adult redshank warns his/her three offspring about my presence. Their sounds are also heard. Camera: Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300mm, effective focal length 2.100 mm. It was quite windy. Sound: Telinga Pro 5 with Telinga's small parabola and a stereo DAT mic.



At the same location and same occasion, 25 July 2013, two little stints (småsnäppor) fed together with considerably larger birds. Camera: Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300mm, regrettably no sound because I had problems with the equipment.



Then a too long sequence showing a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits (myrspovar) feeding at Morups Tånge on July 25, 2013. The more strongly coloured male leaves at 0:20. Then one can see that the wings do not have the white band characteristic of the Black-tailed godwit, svenska: rödspov. Some more close pictures of the female follow. Camera: Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300mm, effective focal length 2.100 mm. Sound: Telinga Pro 5 with Telinga's small parabole and a stereo DAT mic.



Back again for a moment to our home in Hålanda, 28 july 2013, a year when the air cables for phone and electricity were still in place. First you hear two adult kestrels (tornfalkar) and see them perform some some air acrobatics (not easy to capture with the big camera, Canon XL-H1A). Then two or three young on different parts of the cables. The bird that leaves at 1'15 could be the third young or the adult female.



More Halland: two redstarts (rödstjärtar) in a garden in Steninge Kyrkby, Halland on 19 August 2013. I am not sure of the age and sex of the birds, but tend to believe that it is an adult female and a youngster. Can you tell? Canon XH-H1A with Canon FD 100-300 mm tele zoom, inbuilt microphone. A longer redstart movie is planned.



The coast of Halland in early autumn: a scene from the little bay Glassvik in Steninge, also on 19 August 2013 but late in the afternoon. A lot of shorebirds are seeking food in the heaps of seaweed on the shore. In the first scene some of the actors present themselves: two young Bar-tailed Godwits (myrspovar) and a young Red Knot (kustsnäppa), then an adult Red Knot, a Sanderling (sandlöpare) and a Common Sandpiper (drillsnäppa). The following scenes are close-ups of these birds and some more species, including a Redshank (rödbena), Herring Gulls (gråtrutar) and Black-Headed Gulls (skrattmåsar). Last but not least a big Carrion Crow (kråka) that really knows how to dig effectively in the seaweed heaps. Camera: Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300mm, effective focal length 2.200 mm. Sound: Telinga Pro 5 with stereo DAT mic, unfiltered so some wind noise remains.



More Hålanda: here a flock of young European siskins (grönsiskor) feeding in a birch in our garden on a windy day, August 20, 2013. I did not try to filter away the wind noise or the loud sounds from nearby human activities. The fine, high-frequent sounds from the siskins are still clearly audible. Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD 100–300 mm, Telinga Pro 5W with stereo DAT mic.



Then two resting Eurasian Curlews (storspovar) at Morup's Tånge on September 5, 2013. Camera: Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300mm, effective focal length 2.200 mm. Sound: Telinga Pro 5 with stereo DAT mic.



Juvenile golden plovers (svenska: ljungpipare) and grey plovers (kustpipare) can be quite difficult to distinguish from each other. This also holds for adults in winter. Here is first a juvenile golden plover at Morups Tånge, Halland on September 5, 2013. Then two young grey plovers at the same location on September 19. Yes, the golden plover deserves it name! But in the shadow it, too, is rather greyish. To help distinguish them, the golden has a more slender bill than the grey plover. Also, the golden seems to be happy on land while the two grey prefer the water.  Camera: Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300 mm lens. Sound: Telinga parabole and mic.


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2014

Common starling (stare) displaying from a rooftop, Hålanda 29 April 2014. He may not be a mastersinger, but surely is a great performer! XL-H1A, Canon FD lens 100-300 mm, Telinga Pro V parabole.



For (many!) more starlings, see below.

Marsh warbler (kärrsångare) Hålanda 5 June 2014. Most probably the same individual as on the audio recording from 10 days later (see the Mastersingers page), but not the same as the one singing in 2011. Also compare 2019!



Near the path from Vålådalen's Fjällstation in Jämtland to Stensdalen, I have found a new favourite environment: the stream Tvärån. Here are some inhabitants near the stream:  a family of Northern Wheatears (stenskvättor), and some higher up but not so far away:  two worried Golden Plovers (ljungpipare). Mid-July 2014, camera: Canon XH-A1, Telinga mic.



15 August 2014: A young Hobby Falcon (lärkfalk) in Hålanda, Sweden. In the beginning you hear the call of one of its parents (or a sibling), and at 15" an adult falcon is seen flying by. The family has a new nesting place beginning with 2013, cf 2012 above!


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2015

Buzzards (ormvråkar) with different degrees of leucism (reducerad pigmentering) are sometimes called Börringe buzzards (Börringevråkar). They happen to be common in and around Hålanda. Here is one escaping from a crowd of Western Jackdaws (kajor) and landing not far from our house. I have not tried to fix the distorted sound associated with the slowmotion. 5 March 2015, Canon XL-H1A. More clips of these guys to come!



From our window: A cosy chat between two Eurasian Tree Sparrows (pilfinkar)  accompanied by the strong voices of two newly arrived Common Cranes (tranor). Hålanda, Sweden, 11 March 2015. Canon XL-H1A, standard zoom lens and inbuilt mic.



In 2015, science writer Torgny Nordin and I made two excursions to Sicily and Rome. See the page for Project Segelberg!

On the top of Monte Dinamaro near the straight of Messina in early May 2015, we had an interview with Sicilian ornithologist and raptor specialist Andrea Corso, who among other things told us about the illegal hunting of birds that still is going on in Sicily. A lot of European Honey buzzards (bivråkar) were spotted this day and you see some of them. The video has been edited using clips from other parts of our excursion, so you also get a glimpse of bird hunting according to the 4th century mosaics at the Villa Romana Casale in southern Sicily.



Lago Pergusa in south central Sicily is an important resting place for migratory birds. When Torgny Nordin and I visited it in early May 2015, Torgny noted a flock of Black-necked Grebes (svarthalsade doppingar). Camera: XL-H1A with original zoom corresponding to 800 mm, some digital zoom briefly added. Sound: Telinga Pro 5W with Stereo DAT mic. In this clip you can see many other, more common birds and hear several, including a Common Blackbird (koltrast), Great Reed Warblers (trastsångare) and European Reed Warblers (rörsångare).



Back home: A little flock of broad-billed sandpipers (myrsnäppa, Limicola falcinellus) at Morups Tånge, Halland, on 26 May 2015. Canon XL-H1A, last part with Canon FD 100-300mm. No sound because of the very windy condition.




June 12, 2015: A group of 4 pied avocets (skärfläckor, Recurvirostra avosetta) gathering at the shore of Morups Tånge, Halland. Camera: Canon XL-H1A with standard zoom lens and maximum zoom corresponding to 800 mm. The image quality is suboptimal due to the unusually bad "seeing" (a lot of heat movement in the air), some digital zoom in the second half, and of course the long distance. But if I had been closer the birds would not have been this undisturbed. The main interest of the movie lies in the sound (with Telinga Pro 5W and Stereo DAT mic). First you hear a loud ongoing "contact call", and then after around 0:11 a number of the more familiar short calls. The middle of the movie is dominated by a low contact call, but after around 0:45 there are again a few "regular" calls.



On the same day, June 12 2015: A group of pied avocets (skärfläckor) feeding and quarrelling in a stretch of shallow water at Morups Tånge, Halland. Canon XL-H1A with standard lens; in principle this is a continuous recording but some short parts of the movie had to be cut out. Sound: Telinga Pro V with Stereo DAT mic, no filter applied.




Again 12 June 2015: A Brent Goose (sv. Prutgås) eating a favourite food, eelgrass (Zostera marina, bandtång), at Morup's Tånge, Halland. Camera: Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD (100–)300 mm lens corresponding to 1600 mm, varying quality due to bad "seeing" conditions. Turn down the sound if you cannot stand the human-caused noise.



There were few insects in the Swedish mountains in spring/early summer 2015, and few passerine birds. I saw no bluethroats at the entrance of Storådörren, cf 2012 above. But a beautiful little pond nearby hosted a couple of Red-breasted mergansers (Mergus serrator, småskrakar, not seen here) and at least one Wood sandpiper (Tringa glareola, grönbena). Mid-June 2015, Canon XL-H1A, last part with Canon FD 100-300mm.



14 July 2015: A common redshank (rödbena, Tringa totanus), obviously used to people, is the main character in this sequence from Lake Hornborgasjön, Västergötland. Canon XL-H1A, last part with Canon FD 100-300mm, sound: Telinga.



A small artificial wetland not far from lake Hornborgasjön in Västergötland turned out to be the home of beauty. After the graphical Eurasian coat (sothöna, Fulica atra) and its young, the exotic-looking Horned Grebe (svarthakedopping, Podiceps auritus) appears, busy feeding its offspring. Which is not always easy... see the part beginning at 0:58. 14 July 2015, Canon XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300mm.



Whinchat in wind (buskskvätta), Hålanda, 27 July 2015. This is just an ordinary whinchat filmed at quite a distance, and it is not even singing. Camera: XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300mm, sound: Telinga Pro 5 with stereo DAT mic. See also below, 2018!



27 July 2015: A family of Red-backed shrikes (törnskata, Lanius collurio) in our garden in Hålanda. Camera: XL-H1A with Canon FD 100-300mm, sound: Telinga Pro 5 with stereo DAT mic.




Each year, we wait for the common crane (trana) family that nests at the nearby Hålsjön to come and "present" their offspring on the field close to our house in Hålanda. This year, as several times before, there were two young cranes. 17 August 2015, Canon XL-H1A, second part with Canon FD 100-300mm.



Then a movie from Rome, the first one with the new camera. Very large flocks of starlings (starar) have been called "murmurations of starlings", and here is indeed a murmur! In the evening of November 3, 2015, hundreds of thousands of starling are seeking night quartier in treetops near the Tiber (Rome). There is no big thought behind the film composition; the sub-scenes simply follow one in their correct order of time. The movie in full HD (1080p). Camera: Panasonic GH4, sound: Telinga Pro V parabole with Stereo DAT mic. A lot of noise from traffic and the large group of people watching.



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2016

"Our" starling has just arrived in the garden and greets us with a little crazy evening concerto from a birch. But did he come alone?  Hålanda, 21 March 2016, Panasonic GH4, Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200 tele lens + 2x teleconverter (effective focal length here around 1300 mm), Telinga Pro V parabole with stereo DAT mic. No editing except that I put together a few short and almost consecutive clips. Note the imitations starting around 40 seconds (blackbird/koltrast, whitethroat/törnsångare?, eurasian curlew/storspov?). Sorry for the background wind+traffic noise, any substantial filtering would distort the song.




If the chaffinch (sv: bofink) had been a very rare bird it would have been world famous for its beauty. Now it is Sweden's second commonest bird (after the willow warbler, lövsångaren), but still one of the most beautiful. Here are three clips: one silent young male filmed in late March 2016 (in our garden), one male singing at Grönån, Hålanda April 2016 with several wellknown accompanying voices, and finally one male calling its young in late May the same year. The last one was filmed on the west coast of Öland; the sound from that occasion is not what it should be due to my using the audio limiter on the camera. I hope to be able to fix it later. Camera: GH4 with Olympus tele, sound (the two later clips): Telinga Pro 5W with Stereo DAT mic.




Many song thrushes (taltrastar) mainly talk and are fun to listen to, but the one below has more of a singing, melodic voice. Listen for imitations and tell me what you hear! Sound: Telinga Pro5W with Stereo DAT mic. Some very short parts (in the order of at most a few seconds) had to be cut out because of transient noise, marked by the video transitions. Camera: Panasonic GH4 with Olympus zoom lens corresponding to 1600 mm. The light conditions were difficult and a HLG capable camera would not have been out of place. Höga, Hålanda, evening of 7 May 2016.



Next another clip from early May 2016 in Höga, Hålanda, featuring two common birds: a robin (rödhake) and one or two willow warblers (lövsångare).

Many birds are known to sometimes sing with a weaker song than usual. It is not quite clear which role(s) such "silent song" has, but some experts say there are two kinds: (1) subsong, which is not as articulate as the normal song and is sung by inexperienced birds and out of season, and (2) whisper song, which is quite normal except when it comes to volume and which is sung by adult birds in the midst of heat and often near the nest. See for example http://earbirding.com/blog/archives/2910. As far as I know, the Swedish term "skuggsång" covers both kinds of silent song.

Here we first hear a duet or rather a song duel between a robin (visible) and a willow warbler (not visible). Note that the two songs are equally strong. Then, the robin ducks and in comes a willow warbler. When he (?) starts to sing it is with a very weak voice – one has to look carefully at his throat to be sure that it is he singing. He goes on singing for a while and then flies away. At the end we again hear the "normal" willow warbler together with the robin, just for comparison with the silent singer.

It should be added that there was most probably a willow warbler nest close by, since I saw one bird flying in and out of a dense fir there. So, this could well be an example of "whisper song" in heat.




Then the same, or another, robin (rödhake) duelling with a blackcap (svarthätta, first 1/3) the same morning. Camera: GH4 with Olympus tele, sound: Telinga Pro 5W with Stereo DAT mic, some noise reduction with Izotope RXII was necessary because of wind and surrounding agricultural activities. So the sound is not perfect, also because the sound limiting function was turned on (which causes slight distortions).




Below is a composition from two mornings at the western shore of Hålsjön, Ale, Sweden on June 11-12, 2016. The main character is a singing reed warbler (rörsångare) – this marvellous rap artist – and we also get a glimpse of him flying together with his mate. A shorter shutter time would have improved that scene! We see a reed bunting (sävsparv) listening to the reed warbler and we hear a number of other birds including a blackbird and a common crane (towards the end). There is also a surprise voice in the beginning – now you have been warned! Please note that the last five seconds or so of the reed warbler's song in the close-up scene towards the end is sung very quietly and with closed bill – compare the Silent Song video above.

As usual these days the scenes were shot with a Panasonic GH4, an Olympus tele lens corresponding to max 1600 mm, and finally my dear old Telinga Pro 5W with its Stereo DAT mic.




Here is another energetic European Reed Warbler (rörsångare), now in Steninge, Halland on 22 June 2016, 08.30. You can also hear a skylark (sånglärka). Panasonic GH4, Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200 tele lens with 2x extender, Telinga Pro V with Stereo DAT mic. No audio filtering attempted.



Below at least seven young Barn Swallows (ladusvalor) being fed by their parents in a maple on a windy day, 3 September 2016. Next day all the swallows were on their way to Africa. Panasonic GH4 with Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200 tele lens + 2x teleconverter (effective focal length 400–1600 mm), sound: Telinga pro 5W with Stereo DAT mic.



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2017

Here is first another composition, a small movie featuring the three imitators presented above: bluethroat, marsh warbler and song thrush. (Swedish speaker voice). The clips are from 2012–2014 but (this version of) the composition from 2017.




In Grästorp, not far from Lake Vänern, the river Nossan forms a series of waterfalls that previously powered a sawmill. Now the bridge at Forshall is a well-known place for birding. I am planning a movie with birds from Forshall; here are three clips intended to be used in it. First an adult and a young Grey Wagtail (forsärla)  on 17 May 2017. Camera: Panasonic GH4 with Olympus tele lens. Sound: inbuilt microphone (I think).


The following two sequences are from the same occasion, 17 May 2017. First you see two Common Sandpipers (drillsnäppor) in what I think is a territorial fight. It seems that one family lives at each side of the bridge at Forshall. At the end of the sequence you see a member of the downstream family searching for food. For an upstream inhabitant see next movie. Camera: Panasonic GH4 with Olympus zoom lens, inbuilt microphone.




Then a common sandpiper seeking food in the white water upstreams of the bridge at Forshall. Camera: Panasonic GH4 with Olympus tele zoom. Sound: Telinga Pro 5W with Stereo DAT mic. Forshall, Grästorp's Community, 17 May 2017.



On May 28 2017, close to Byrum at north-Western Öland, I was out at 4:30 AM trying to get a glimpse of a Thrush Nightingale (näktergal). Suddenly I saw one sitting in a dead tree some 5 meters away, without noticing me. First it sat silent and looked like a museum specimen. Then it started singing. Camera: Panasonic GH4, Olympus tele lens, filmed in full HD but this copy is in 720p format. Sound: Telinga Pro V with Stereo DAT microphone. The Baltic sea in the background, no filtering.

While the song displayed here is characteristic of the thrush nightingale, these birds have a much greater repertoire. For longer, pure audio recordings of thrush nightingales, including two from a nearby location, see the Mastersingers page.




A little later on the same morning and the same location, using the same equipment, I got some close shots of a willow warbler (lövsångare). Like the song thrush, our commonest bird is rather shy and not quite easy to film when singing, but at this occasion I was standing in the direction of the rising sun so he probably did not see me at all. Among background voices: a thrush nightingale (best heard in second part).




In the natural reserve near Glassvik, Steninge (Halland), the landscape is kept open by grazing sheep. Enormous junipers (svenska: enbuskar), brambles (björnbärsbuskar) and honeysuckle (vildkaprifol; end of movie) are character bushes and plants. The reserve is a known location not only for Common Linnet (hämpling) but also for Common Rosefinch (rosenfink) which is actually becoming rare in Sweden. Here one first hears at least two singing linnets – only one seen, but look carefully, and you will surely hear a second one! Then the friendly call of a rosefinch – "nice to meet you", or "hej på dej, du" – is heard to the left, but the bird is hidden in dense foliage and I fail to catch it on video. A chaffinch (bofink) is also heard now and then, as are raindrops on the parabole. 6 AM on 11 June 2017, GH4, Olympus tele and Telinga Pro V with Stereo DAT mic.




Now a few minutes of a singing Common Blackbird (koltrast) in the morning of 18 June 2017 near Hålanda, Sweden. You first see and hear a young Fieldfare (björktrast) who has briefly borrowed the blackbirds' favourite twig. While the fieldfare leaves you can hear the blackbird singing, and its sings while arriving at the twig. Panasonic GH4 with Olympus tele zoom corresponding to 1600mm, Telinga Pro 5W with Stereo DAT mic, no audio filtering, background sounds from wind and a nearby creek remain. I like to think of the bird's reaction around 1:17 as a protest against the car that just passed by. :-)

If you just love blackbirds: for a 6+ minutes movie of the same bird plus some accompanying voices see https://vimeo.com/336903073.




Blyth's Reed Warblers (Swedish: busksångare) are rare guests in Sweden. In 2017, at least one of them – most probably a couple – stayed a long time in Grästorp's community, Western Sweden, and became something of a celebrity among ornithologists and local people alike. The first short movie from my wife's and mine visit there on June 27, 2017 shows the beautiful setting of our recording of the warbler. It is close to the small church of Ås near Lake Vänern, Västergötland. If you can, go there! Your hear the warbler singing at least from around 0:18. Then you can see the Telinga parabola set for an audio recording, and of course the recorder (this is a meta-movie). The next movie was shot some 50 meters from here.



Below, then, are 5+ minutes of the remarkable sound production of Blyth's Reed Warbler (busksångare), recorded around 08:00 on June 27, 2017. Video: Panasonic GH4 and an Olympus tele lens with focal length equivalent to 1600 mm. Sound: Telinga Pro 5W with Stereo DAT microphone; a gentle noise filtering with Izotope RXII has been applied to dampen the sound from the nearby stream.

The video is based on three parts of a continuous 15+ minutes recording, from which the sections with any significant auditory or visual disturbances were deleted. For pure sound recordings that partly overlap with the movie but contain much more of the bird's song, see https://soundcloud.com/user-370092153/zoom0033-2 (etc).




The local barn swallows gather before leaving and have a lot to chat about. Hålanda, August 1st 2017, Panasonic GH4 with Olympus tele zoom Telinga Pro 5W with Stereo DAT mic. What will the barn swallows do when all air cables are taken down?



For a few days in late August 2017, four Black-tailed Godwits (rödspovar, Limosa limosa ssp. islandica) rested in Kärrtorp's Wetland near Falkenberg, Halland. You see them already in the first wide angle scene together with several other birds, such as three Grey Herons (gråhägrar) and two Wood Sandpipers (grönbenor). There was a strong wind and some traffic and other noise, but you can still hear the adult wood sandpiper talking to its children in a later scene. Panasonic GH4 with Olympus tele, Telinga Pro 5W with Stereo DAT mic. No image stabilization or sound filtering attempted.



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2018

The first video this year is from an excursion to Sicily around May 1st. The Pied Avocet (skärfläcka) has long legs but they are nothing compared to those of its close relative, the Blackwinged Stilt (styltlöpare). Here is a very short clip from between Trapani and Marsala on 1 May 2018. Panasonic GH4 with Olympus tele. Not an easy task since the bird moves fast and in unforeseeable ways! More from this journey to come.



In the following collage you see some whinchats (buskskvättor) in different seasons: first one just about to leave Marettimo west of Sicily on 30 April 2018; then a family (I think) near Hålanda in mid-June 2017 (where you also hear an osprey); then one singing in our Hålanda garden in mid-June 2018. The first part from the latter occasion, from 0:35 to 1:05, was recorded without the Telinga device, so all the background "noise" from rural activities is heard too.  Finally one sitting on a thistle among high grass in August 2012, warning its offspring – the sound that one so often hears in the right kind of landscape.

 

Then a bird that I have long wanted to film and quite unexpectedly ran into during a walk in the mountains: A Gyr falcon (Falco rusticolus, sv.: jaktfalk), most probably near its nest, somewhere in northern Lappland in early July 2018. Camera: Handheld Panasonic GH4 with Olympus M.Zuiko Pro 12-40/2.8 lens, distance 150–200 m. The gyr falcon has a wing span of around 120 cm and is one of the fastest fliers of all birds. The flight parts were filmed at an effective focal length of 160 mm and upscaled with a factor of 2, so don't try to see the movie at more than 720p. The inbuilt mic was used without any wind shield, and the wind noise regrettably makes it impossible to hear the bird's characteristic call on the video.




And now, a true rarity. This little beauty visited Hålanda on August 7–8, 2018. In the background of the first scene: Hålsjön. My wife and I first thought it was a Snow Goose (snögås, blå form) and reported it as such, but we have since then learnt that it is a Snow Goose x Bar-headed Goose hybrid (hybrid mellan snögås och spetsgås).



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2019

Our garden i Hålanda on 6 February 2019: A singing female bullfinch (sv: domherre). It could perhaps be called "whisper song" (sv: visksång). It is said that she and her male only sing for each other. Camera: Panasonic GH4 with Olympus zoom lens corresponding to 1600 mm. Sound: Roede Videomic pro, some noise removal with Izotope RXII.



Morups Tånge, Halland, 1 of March 2019: Still ice at the shore but the first migrants have already arrived: three Common Ringed Plovers (större strandpipare) and one Eurasian Oystercatcher (strandskata). Panasonic GH4, Olympus tele, sound: Roede Videomic Pro (I believe).



The bigger cousin of the song thrush, the Mistle Thrush (dubbeltrast) has a beautiful voice which reminds one of both a blackbird and a song thrush. Here is one singing accompanied by among others a chaffinch (bofink), a willow warbler (lövsångare, a few appearances), a common wood pigeon (ringduva), a blackbird (koltrast), and possibly another mistle trush and/or a song thrush (taltrast). Please tell me what you hear! Hålanda, Sweden on 28 April 2019 around 8.30 PM, while the sun is setting. Camera: Panasonic GH4 with Olympus zoom lens corresponding to 1600 mm. Sound: Telinga Pro V with windscreen, Stereo DAT mic, no filtering. The low background "noise" apart from wind is nearby running water.




In the morning of 4 June 2019, some 60–100 young starlings (starar) waited for their parents to feed them in the trees close to our house in Hålanda. Although the whole event is very social – in line with the general nature of starlings – it seems that the adult birds only feed their own offspring. Several times you can see them searching for the right mouths to fill. How they manage to find them is not obvious! – It is a warm day and when your stomach is full, it is good to rest… Camera: Panasonic GH5 with Panasonic Leica 12–60 mm lens. Some digital zoom here and there, so the resolution is not full HD all the way. P.S. "Bamba" is an old Swedish name for school lunch.



The following movie features two Marsh Warblers (kärrsångare), possibly a couple, singing at the same time. Hålanda 19 June 2019, 5:20–5:53. For a background and the reasons why I think they are a couple, see https://www.xeno-canto.org/481968.

You first hear one bird singing hidden in a dense shrub. At 0:37 I start panning towards the right. Around 0:50 you begin to hear another marsh warbler and at 1 min it appears at the top of a small shrub. From 1:05 it produces a series of wonderful sounds including many imitations. The part after 1:25 was shot some 15–20 minutes later. Panasonic GH4, first part with the usual Olympus zoom, last part with an old but good Canon 400 mm 1:5.6 + 1.4x extender, corresponding to 2.200 mm. Sound: Telinga Pro5W with Stereo DAT mic, recorded directly on the film. The slight out-of-sync is due to the distance. A lot of morning traffic, but no filtering except some volume reduction in the first part.

Also compare the second movie from 2014 where a marsh warbler sings from the same shrub.



After 2011 (see above) there has not been any real "lemming year" (lämmelår) in the Härjedalen-Jämtland mountains. When lemmings and other rodents are scarce, as in 2019, most birds of prey leave the high mountain valleys and go south again. On 25 June 2019, dozens of Long-tailed Jaegers (fjällabbar) had therefore gathered on the plateau of Flatruet, Härjedalen, before leaving the area. Here are some of them. Camera: handheld Panasonic GH5 with Panasonic-Leica 12–60 mm zoom lens, a little image stabilization added afterwards.



It is usually very difficult to film swifts (tornseglare), but when they get the idea of flying around your house on the same track again and again you have your chance. From our doorway, Hålanda 29 July 2019. The show lasted for around an hour, and here are 2 minutes of it. Camera: Panasonic GH5 with Leica Panasonic 12–60 mm lens, inbuilt microphone.




Here some shorebirds waiting to go south in Beijershamn, Öland on 15 August 2019: a Wood Sandpiper (sv: Grönbena), five Black-Tailed Godwits (rödspovar) and five Common Snipes (enkelbeckasiner). The godwits belong to the most common subspecies (ssp. limosa); cf the Islandic kind seen in the sequence from Halland, August 2017. Camera: Panasonic GH5 with Leica-Panasonic 20–60 and 50–200 mm lenses; close-ups with Canon 400/5.6 and 1.4 x extender, focal length corresponding to 2.240 mm. The cows present did not seem to appreciate that a group of visitors made loud noises when arriving. And the weather became dramatic... best seen in full-screen.




Finally another collage from Morup's Tånge, late afternoon of 24 August 2019. Among others, some Oystercatchers (strandskator), Redshanks (rödbenor), Black-Headed Gulls (skrattmåsar), young Red Knots (kustsnäppor), a few Eurasian Curlews (storspovar), a Bartailed Godwit (myrspov) – check the difference in size! – and a Brent Goose (prutgås) can be seen feeding, all in their own way. Panasonic GH5 with Panasonic Leica 12–60 and 50–200 mm, also Canon 400 mm 1:5.6 + 1.4x extender. Filmed in 10 bits colour, but this copy converted to 8 bits ProRes 422 for ease of editing in FCP7. No Telinga parabola this time.



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Mastersingers (audio)

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Updated November 6, 2019