Soundscape: Birding on Northwick Warth

Soundscape: Birding on Northwick Warth

The sounds for this piece were mostly recorded around daybreak on a fairly calm, crisp morning at the end of April around Northwick Warth / Pilning Wetlands. The hedgerow, pools and saltmarsh were alive with the sounds of songbirds, wildfowl and waders – all competing against the continual rumble of traffic on the bridge and the M4 to the South and occasional air traffic in the skies above. You can hear the bubbling call of the curlew alongside the peeping alarm call of oystercatchers and the odd, drunken tumbling of the lapwing. Swans fly overheard and later filter-feed on the water. Towards the end of the piece I also bring in a recording of cattle grazing on the grasslands on the sea wall.

Paul Bowerman’s oral history was edited down from a really interesting hour-plus interview recorded inside one of the hides by fellow AFL volunteer John Hastings. As well as describing the birdlife and the importance of the reserve, he gives a lovely description of the special significance and particularities of this curious, liminal landscape – a place you can often find yourself completely alone yet never escape the sound of man; that’s somehow both heavily managed / industrialised and utterly teeming with wildlife.

David Howell

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© 2021 A Forgotten Landscape: A Heritage Lottery Fund Landscape Partnership Scheme.


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