Welcome to a sonic christmas calender! I will share a new snippets of fieldrecordings from the recording archive of Soundscape Røst every day up til christmas eve!
”Puffin Wheeling” – a fieldrecording by Elin Øyen Vister
Place of recording: Hernyken Naturereserve, Røst archipelago, Nordland, Norway
Time: 1 am
Weather: Cloudy, little wind.
Description of recording:
This summer (10.6-8.7.2011) I spent four weeks assisting seabird specialist Tycho Anker-Nilssen at Hernyken Nature Reserve, Røst Archipelago, Nordland, Northern Norway. It was a lifechanging stay. I wanted to learn more about pelagic seabirds, and I wanted to know more about their breeding environment and lives. Also I was keen on experience the everydaylife of a biologists fieldwork. Most of all I wanted to spend as much time in the company of my favourite creatures, the pealgic seabirds, listening and tuning into their wonderful and magic soundworld.
The north-Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula Arctica) population of Røst is estimated to approximately 390.000 pairs. Every April/May the Puffins come ashore to breed on the grassy slopes and in the skree and boulder of the birdislands and mountains of The Røst archipelago; Vedøy, Stofjellet, Ellevsnyken, Trenyken og Hernyken. The Røst colony was once the most numerous Puffincolony in the world estimated to have been around 1,5 million pairs. That was just 30 years ago. The decline in the Puffin population is mainly explained by lack of fish in the ocean such as Herring which they depend on to feed chicks, but has also to do with other envirinomental factors. Puffins are great environmental indicators and by studying amonsgt other things, the diet they birds bring back to chicks, the biologist can tell how the oceans are doing!
One of the Puffins social activities is called wheeling. This is a cyclic group activity that
happens in intervals throughout the day, the week and the season. To experience swarming and wheeling on a day where there are many individuals present in a colony, is intense and dreamy. Thousands of Puffin wings are sounding around, above and below you, resonating in the wind. The Puffins move together in an epliptic circle flying against the wind up towards their particular nest sites. There are often several circles around the different parts of the colony in various vertical layers. They cycle partly over the water and over the colony.
I wanted to capture the sound of a swarming and wheeling day, both from the inside of a
nest in a skree, as well as from the outside of the nest entrance. So I did two simultanous mono recordings with DPA 4060 microphones placed a few meters apart. They where fitted with a small fuzzy windshield. What you are listening to is a five minute sample of a stereo combination of these two monorecordings.