News Article29/05/2019

Poole Harbour Night Flight Calls – 2015 to 2017

The study of nocturnal migration is a fascinating subject and one that’s certainly grown in popularity over the last 12 months. By sound recording or simply just listening to the night sky during peak migration times you can hear and listen to the calls of birds that migrate through the night. In the spring and autumn many thousands of birds choose to migrate under the cover of darkness for a number of reasons, but by listening to and analysing these calls we can begin to understand more about the timings, totals and routes a whole host of bird species are taking in and out of and across the UK.

In early 2015 we began ‘noc-migging’ with advise and guidance from Magnus Robb from the Sound Approach which allowed us to monitor night migration over our own gardens and even our offices in urban Poole. A friend and work colleague Nick Hopper was also recording at his house and later began night recording over at Portland Bill, which provided good night coverage across Dorset.

Within a few months it was obvious that we were beginning to ‘open up a can of worms’ and over the following couple of years, Nick, Magnus and Birds of Poole Harbour started recording and piecing together a picture as to what was happening over Dorset air space at night during migration time.

Its now great to see that this type of night monitoring has been taken up by many of the birding fraternity across the UK adding to the overall knowledge base with many people now recording night migration over their own back gardens. There has even been a great new website titled ‘Noc-Mig – All You need to Know, set up by Simon Gillings and Nick Moran from the BTO which introduces equipment options and techniques as well as an overview of the concept of ‘Noc-Mig’.

The recordings below (which we’ll be adding to over time) we hope will act as a (limited) set of reference material for anyone wishing to learn Night Flight Calls (NFC’s) of common or regular birds that migrate at night. Please use and listen to all the examples taking note of dates and times of recordings. The recordings below aren’t the only NFC’s from each of these species, with many birds using a variety of calls whilst migrating at night. We hope that over time we can add numerous call types to the list from around Poole Harbour, helping build and expand our knowledge base.


Paul Morton

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