I know some of you in the past have been kind enough to send in comments about the wildlife radio programmes I make, thank you. Well just to remind those who do listen, on Sunday the 29th January at 06.35hrs, there is a new series of Living World on Radio 4, beginning with a favourite subject of mine, the Jackdaw. And of course it's also available on the BBC i-player after broadcast.
This was recorded on January 5th in Cambridgeshire. If you can remember back then, it was a stormy day, much damage across swathes of Britain. So at 5.30am in total darkness I set off into a woodland with the presenter and contributor to record a wildlife programme. The noise of the wind through the trees was deafening, it really was like a steam train passing by, only it never passed by. The stuff of wildlife recording nightmares.
The technique in such conditions then is to 'close mic' the presenter and contributor to make sure their voice isn't drowned out by the atmosphere. That does have a disadvantage in that a lot of the atmosphere is lost. So what then needs to be done is record what's called 'wildtrack' of the atmosphere, and then in the studio mix the two together to produce something both atmospheric and listenable to.
I enjoy making all the programmes I have had the privilege to be allowed to make, but this one on jackdaws was something special, as in the evening we just witnessed what has to be one of the all time wildlife spectacles in the Natural World. I've been interested in corvids for a long time, and to be with specialists is for me just so exciting. Sadly my photographic techniques need help, as these 2 images of jackdaws taken in Dorset in 2008 prove, I never did manage to get to grips with digi-scoping!