Grumpy gnomes and allies

I vividly remember a night with some good friends on a cliff at Cape Emine, Bulgaria, in May 2014, when I almost certainly heard nocturnal flight calls of Little Bitterns Ixobrychus minutus for the first time. Every now and then the silence of the first few hours of this mild night was interrupted by calls of Water Rails … … Continued

Nocturnal flight calls of flycatchers, robins and chats

With the current surge in popularity of night flight call (NFC) recording in Europe, many people are struggling to identify one group of passerines in particular: flycatchers, robins and chats, which are nowadays considered to belong to the family Muscicapidae. The challenge is compounded … Continued

The Beauty of The Sound Approach – now available

On Friday 18th August the Sound Approach launched a new and unique product at the British Birdfair, Rutland. The Beauty of The Sound Approach is a vinyl LP, with extras; buyers also get a USB flashcard containing high resolution digital versions of the same tracks, plus a similar quantity of bonus ones. So, whatever side of … Continued

Common Scoters in strange places

Common Scoter is a duck which, outside the breeding season, is strongly associated with the sea. So imagine Magnus’s surprise to hear a flock migrating at night migrating over southern Portugal, more than 50 km from the sea, and not just once but twice. Based on what we know about their flight speed, they may … Continued

Nocturnal flight calls of Great Spotted Cuckoo

The first time I heard nocturnal flight calls of a Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius was quite unforgettable. It was 24 May 2001, and I was at Durnalık, near Gaziantep in southern Turkey. I had been recording White-throated Robins Irania gutturalis until nightfall, and was preparing for a night in ‘Hotel Volkswagen’ when I heard a series of strange wails. They were quite … Continued

Things that go plik in the night

Nocturnal autumn migration of Ortolan Bunting in the UK and southern Portugal. Part 2: Nocturnal migration of Ortolans in Dorset and southern Portugal. Describing our nocturnal listening stations in Dorset and Portugal, how we record and analyse, and what we have learned about Ortolans .… Continued

Things that go plik in the night

Nocturnal autumn migration of Ortolan Bunting in the UK and southern Portugal. Part 1: Ortolans night and day – identifying them by call. Introducing eight Ortolan call-types and including sounds of potential confusion species.… Continued

Flight calls of migratory birds

Back in 2003, The Sound Approach created a CD and booklet titled Out of the blue, for the subscribers of the Dutch Birding journal to mark the 25th anniversary of the Dutch Birding Association ( It was meant as a solid starter CD for those birders who try to identify all migratory bird calls, eg, at … Continued

Calls of Yellow Wagtail BBRC article

  Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola, Ikh Nart, East Gobi Province, Mongolia, 17 May 2008 (René Pop) This page was produced to host the recordings supplied by The Sound Approach team for the BBRC paper on vagrant Yellow Wagtails, which appears in the July 2016 issue of British Birds. To find out more CLICK HERE Text and sounds below … Continued

Baillon’s Crake and Olive-backed Pipit BBRC Article

Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla   Unlike the UK, where until recently most records concerned vagrants, the Netherlands host a small but highly variable number of Bailllon’s Crakes each year, with a handful of sites being fairly reliable. With one, formerly two Sound Approach recordists living there, we have been in a good position to gain … Continued