Wild Notes SOUND MAP #2 MAP SAIN Nodau Gwyllt: Gerddi Bro Ddyfi & surrounding area 23rd May 2019, 6.45-8.45am
Early this sunny – but surprisingly cold – morning, a small group of us, garden volunteers, friends and new acquaintances, were led by the expert skills of Ben Porter in learning how to recognise bird songs and calls of the area around our beautiful local community garden, Gerddi Bro Ddyfi. To complement this, I led the second Wild Notes ‘Sound Map’, which began humbly as a large piece of wallpaper that I invited people to depict their favourite sounds from the walk on as we gathered back at the garden afterwards. I had introduced the process at the beginning, suggesting people imagine how they would describe or draw the sounds they were hearing, as they listened and walked. The idea is experimental but I think it has lots of potential for helping us engage with the natural soundscape, and remember what we are hearing. We will see (or hear)!
Sounds on the Map: Have a look at the pictures below to see how we collectively created a visual depiction of the following, all heard today…
Blue Tit Ducks (honk, honk!) Starlings (cheeo cheeo cheeo) Cuckoo (we probably know that one!) Willow warbler (descending pattern) Nuthatch (brief, bubbly, fruity repeating sound) Wren (clear & high-pitched) Wood pigeon (5 ‘coos’, plus sometimes extra on end, breathy) Collared dove (fewer coos) Greenfinch (one sustained, raspy cry) Jackdaw Garden Warbler (fast-paced, bubbly) Blackbird (loud, mellifluous, liquidy) Goldcrest Songthrush (loud, clear, groups of notes returning to same pitch 3/4/5 times) Goldfinch (twinkly, like splitting ice, or stars) Chaffinch (song ends in ‘achoo!’) Dunnock (flitting, high-pitched, two layers of pitch alternating) Swallows (chattering)
It’s important to remember that there are many variations, and differences between birds’ ‘songs’ which are sung to assert territory or attract mates, and their ‘calls’, which are generally for contact / to alarm fellow birds. It was wonderful to work together in deciding how to represent what we heard on the map – people imagine and remember in different ways and it is a great opportunity to embrace this fact!