I´ve been thinking on creating a Nocturnal Flight Call (NFC) station in my house (Bombarral, West Portugal) for some time, but I never went ahead with it until this summer.
With a portable recorder and a shotgun microphone, I leave it all night pointed towards the sky recording. To make the most out of this fascinating activity, I created a station on Trektellen website, since they have a very nice protocol for NFC.
I did about a week of testing before I created the station on Trektellen website, just to make sure my location had some potential to record any migrants. Over the years, without much effort and equipment, just going outside after dark, I had several species flying over, Sandwich terns, Green Sandpipers, Redwings, etc... so I wasn´t completely unaware of some migration above my house.
To get the basic knowledge, I read as much as I could about the subject online, and I would definitely recommend visiting the "The Sound Approach" and "NocMig" websites, they provide all you need to get started and more.
My first full night of recording revealed a Whimbrel and a Wood Sandpiper! Boom! The Wood Sandpiper was a tricky one, just a single call, that I thought it was an Ortolan bunting, but Magnus Robb kindly put me on the right path for Wood Sandpiper.
After that, every night I had something recorded, Common Sandpipers, Dunlin, Moorhen, Ringed-plover, more Whimbrels...and my local Eagle-owl.
I just started this, and I intend to record every night for this next migration season, looking forward to discover what else will move above my head while I´m sleeping, or watching tv, or attending a crying baby.
If you are interested in follow up on the recordings, you can check the station webpage at Trektellen and follow the nightly results. On the species very often I attach the sound clips so you can ear. If you find any misidentification or happen to know any of the "?" recordings, please let me know, I will be very grateful for any corrections.
I would like to thank Sonomario and Magnus Robb for all the support.
Birding Portugal & Spain - Blog
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I was born in west Portugal and began birding at the age of 11. I have particular interest in bird ringing (banding), moult, seabirds and rarities. Currently I work as a guide for Birds & Nature Tours.
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