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Brightness of sound

December 11, 2012

The stars shone with absolute clarity on Monday night. As I let the dogs out into the garden the bright spark of Jupiter dominated the sky. With a pair of binoculars I could clearly make two of Jupiter’s attendant moons before the cold drove me back indoors. These dry cold nights are the most rewarding for star gazers, so many more stars and galaxies flow into vision. But it is not just the stars which are clear, the sound world itself also becomes sharper and brighter.

It was not until the small hours that the shrill call of a vixen came like a sharp jab through an open window. Foxes are very vocal at this time of the year, their territorial part scream part bark can come as a surprise to the unaware. The vixen travels over considerable distances calling constantly as they map out the night time geography of their patch. As I lay in bed listening the sound map of the railway line and the vixen’s wider circuit was delivered by the regular repetitive call. This carried on until the air could no longer transmit the most distant call.

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Thaw

December 30, 2010

A flight of Wigeon are temporary winter visitors to the island.  Their plaintive whistling calls are the clearest signs of their presence – but the bold white wing markings on the males are confirmation enough.  They flock in their thousands along the marshy Norfolk coast or along the lower reaches of the Yare, but this was nothing but a small foraging party. The thaw has set in has perhaps there are early pickings for wild duck along the Bure.

The thaw has also released the scent of the fox from it’s frozen state. There are many hot spots which are seemingly important in the regular route. We will have to wait for the frosty starlit nights in order to listen to her territorial screams – such sounds do not carry in the wet misty and damp conditions which prevail.