Earth Notes: Diarycast - Urban Dawn Chorus (2020-05-23)

Updated 2024-04-11 13:57 GMT.
By Damon Hart-Davis.
Ambient sound of silence (nearly) from a tranquil (nearly) suburban garden... #podcast #SilentCities #OrkneyLibraryHaiku
20200523 dawn chorus spectrogram
1429s "20200523" (captions) Uploaded . Downloads:
20200523 Ambient haiku


Hi, I'm Damon Hart-Davis, and welcome to Earth Notes podcast on all things eco and green and efficient @Home!

23rd May 2020.

A now slightly-less unusual episode, almost without words.

In the spirit of the #OrkneyLibraryHaiku mini competition on Twitter: Sunny Saturday // Invisible Lockdown Walls // Ambient Podcast? (Who knew that haiku could terminate with 'archipelagoes' or even 'coronavirus', maybe making a 'haikoronaviru'?)

The last few days have been pretty warm (up to 27°C — vest weather) and sunny. So [16WW] electricity imports have remained low, well under 1kWh/day.

Lockdown demand is low enough and renewables generation high enough in Great Britain, that renewable energy may be switched off as demand plummets over this bank holiday lockdown weekend.


This episode is about my new attempt to capture ambient back garden sounds during the suburban dawn chorus at 16WW, but as a little warm up I have some dusk clips too.

At dawn (4am, 03:00 UTC) the temperature was about 11°C, and there was an intermittent light breeze. The sky was just getting light. Other than the odd intrusive motor vehicle sound, there was not much direct human noise!



Dusk [... 3 short dusk clips ...]


Dawn [... 3 longer dawn clips ...]

There's more on my "Earth Notes" Web site at Earth.Org.UK.

Show Notes

The recording mic was the Blue Yeti, 48ksps, usually stereo and omnidirectional unless otherwise noted (eg in the clip's filename).

For this episode I upgraded Audacity to 2.4.1.

With the Yeti I used my shiny (well, fluffy) new Foam Microphone Windscreen with Furry Windscreen Muff - Mic Wind Cover Pop Filter for Blue Yeti (£10 including VAT), which arrived on the 19th.

Here are the raw dusk sound files without any processing, basically recorded at my desk (19th) or with the Yeti balanced on the window sill by my desk (22nd):

122s "20200519T1930Z desk dusk ambient" Uploaded . Downloads:
62s "20200522T2000Z desk dusk ambient mono" Uploaded . Downloads:
106s "20200522T2005Z desk dusk ambient" Uploaded . Downloads:

Here are the raw dawn sound files without any processing, from our back garden, with the Yeti on a table.

309s "20200523T0305Z 16WW lockdown Saturday 4am dawn chorus ambient omnidirectional" Uploaded . Downloads:
304s "20200523T0310Z 16WW lockdown Saturday 4am dawn chorus ambient omnidirectional" Uploaded . Downloads:
455s "20200523T0320Z 16WW lockdown Saturday 4am dawn chorus ambient omnidirectional" Uploaded . Downloads:

Before inclusion in the episode, clips were "Normalize"d to peak at -18dB. Fade -in and -out was done for each. All the dawn clips were "Normalize"d together to -12dB.

The day was chilly and windy (thus lots of wind-in-leaves noise), albeit with some sunshine. I think that the mix of sounds, including the birdsong, would have been different on a more still, warmer day.

2020-05-27: Darren O'Connell on Twitter said: Great recording!

~465 words.