Going Pipistrelle Batty at the Weekend

Last Friday night was a first for me – I found myself without a torch in our local park hunting for bats. It didn’t occur to me to take a torch but fortunately there were plenty of other people there to whom it had occurred and a great time was had by all.

Click here to listen on the blog to the sound of Common Pipistrelle bats in Coedbach Park last Friday night or here on SoundCloud.

Steve Lucas, Welsh Bat Officer with the Bat Conservation Trust gave a fascinating talk/slideshow about the various species of bats and their habitats until it got dark. Then we ventured out and were given bat detectors to use in the woods and along the hedgerows. We heard three different types of bat in Coedbach Park – Common and Soprano Pipistrelles and a Whiskered bat.

Seeing with Sound – The bat detectors respond to the very high frequencies bats use as their “sonar device” to detect and catch insects and “see” their surroundings – bats, however, are not blind. The frequency range of a Pipistrelle bat is around 45Khz (kilohertz). The range of the RODE NTG-3 shotgun mic I use for StillWalks recording (see the last blog entry) has a range that goes up to 20Khz and so has no chance of picking up the sound of bats!

The sound file above is a recording of the output of the bat detectors we were using made on my Edirol RO9 recorder – the hiss is mostly from the bat detectors but the sound patterns of the bats are quite clear. Adults and children alike were excited and fascinated to hear the bats at first hand rather than on a TV programme and I, for one, am looking forward to the next time.

Mumbles Promenade and Street Photography

Some people get nervous, uncomfortable, even angry when they see a photographer taking shots in the street or other busy public place. However, as I walked along Mumbles Promenade at the start of the Gower Peninsula the other day, I not only had my camera but also my sound kit with its “dead cat” furry cover on the microphone windshield. It’s the dogs that take exception to this, wondering no doubt, what strange creature it is.

People tend to be more interested and wonder what programme I am making and smile or ask if I am from the BBC. I am not sure that I will be able to get a StillWalk from this impromptu stroll along the promenade but if I need to do a full production day there, I’ll make sure I have the StillWalks logo printed on my T-shirt first.

RODE Blimp Windshield

The interest of dogs in the “Dead Cat” is understandable!

And here on the blog is some of the sound recorded or you can hear these and others on SoundCloud.

Mumbles Promenade-1

Mumbles Promenade-3

Mumbles Promenade and Oystermouth Castle

Mumbles Promenade - the feet have it!

Mumbles Promenade – a popular place for joggers!

Mumbles Promenade

Mumbles Promenade – a popular place for children

Mumbles Promenade

Mumbles Promenade – a popular place for cyclists!

Mumbles Promenade

Mumbles Promenade – a popular place for walking

Mumbles Promenade

Mumbles Promenade – a popular place for walking

Stress Signal Status

Aching, painful muscles?

Tinnitus?

Headaches?

My stress signals include these three symptoms and probably in that order. StillWalks or walking are my most immediate remedies.

Tinnitus – The tinnitus comes second in the list even though it is a constant in my left ear. It is when it becomes a textured and vibrating whine that it gets more difficult to accept and it does this at times of greater stress . . . and then, of course, I get more stressed as a result.

Muscles – It’s the same situation with the muscles – the pain in the muscles (often my neck, currently my shoulders) may be the cause of stress or something else but the result is the tensing of those and other muscles which only makes things worse.

Headaches – These come last on the list for me because I do not generally get headaches. When I do, it is usually the result of stress. I have only ever had a couple of migraines but that is two too many. A good description for them was put up here at the A Word in Your Ear blog last week.

It’s Amazing – I’ve just watched a StillWalk and it’s amazing how well can work! The Garden Park Walk is a full length example – you’ll find it on the Spring Walks page of StillWalks and it is recommended that you watch it full screen.

Here are a few images from this short 6 minute video.

Magnolia, Clyne Gardens, Swansea

Magnolia, Clyne Gardens, Swansea

Clyne Gardens, Swansea

Clyne Gardens, Swansea

Clyne Gardens, Swansea

Clyne Gardens, Swansea

Rhodadendron, Clyne Gardens, Swansea

Rhododendron, Clyne Gardens, Swansea

Time to Pause

Time to Pause – This is largely what StillWalks is about – taking the time necessary to keep calm and not get too stressed. Whether it be relaxing at the end of the day or taking 5 minutes out in the middle of the working day, StillWalks can be both enjoyable and a useful alternative to actually getting out there for a real walk.

The queue of things to do – There never seems to be enough time to do all that I want or is necessary. So, considering what I have just said about StillWalks, I have decided to make a priority completing the four or five StillWalks that are half way through the post production stage by the end of September. The production days for these walks date back to the middle of March and completing them should be a priority because this is work I enjoy doing and, like taking a real walk or watching a StillWalk, has it’s therapeutic value.

Current explorations – In the meantime I have been enjoying finding a new place to produce a StillWalk – Singleton Park in Swansea and its botanic garden. I joined Martin Humphreys and others last Wednesday for a Bees and Butterflies walk through the botanic garden – it was very enjoyable and relaxing. The walk will take place again next Wednesday at 10 AM – anyone interested should meet at the botanic garden entrance in the park. Enjoy the photos from my phone below.

Singleton Park, Swansea

Singleton Park, Swansea

Singleton Park Botanic Garden

Singleton Park Botanic Garden

Singleton Park Botanic Garden

Singleton Park Botanic Garden

Singleton Park Botanic Garden

Singleton Park Botanic Garden

Singleton Park Botanic Garden

Singleton Park Botanic Garden

Singleton Park Botanic Garden

Singleton Park Botanic Garden

Singleton Park Botanic Garden

Singleton Park Botanic Garden

Singleton Park Botanic Garden

Singleton Park Botanic Garden

Singleton Park Botanic Garden - Twisted tree

Singleton Park Botanic Garden – Twisted tree

Tree Festival and Evening Sounds

This photo reminds me that StillWalks is going to be at the Tree Festival in the Botanic Garden of Wales this weekend, but actually . . .

The park at Richelieu

The park at Richelieu

. . . it’s from a small selection of images about ceilings (!) I arranged from a recent trip to France. Here a couple more of the natural ones and a sound clip to prove my mother wrong about there being no sounds at night !?!

French Evening Sky

French Evening Sky

Evening Sky over Faye la Vineuse

Evening Sky over Faye la Vineuse

And here are the real (if not natural) ceilings from the Chateau d’Oiron, an amazing place full of contemporary art and crazy ceilings. These pics were taken on my iPhone.

Chateau d"Oiron

Chateau d”Oiron

Hoofing It – A blog entry on the hoof

At the weekend I was busy again, this time with StillWalks Equestrian. Earlier this year I was asked if I would be interested in doing the photography for Clydach Riding Club and, what with nothing better to do at the weekends (ha, ha), I ventured on down to their new show field at Ynystawe.

I don’t have the best camera for this kind of work as the photography I do for StillWalks does not involve that many fast moving objects. However, I manage well enough and enjoy watching the events. Having watched my daughter riding for many years, it is very useful to have an understanding of what is going on. This also allowed me to appreciate the equestrian Olympic events that much more than I have in the past.

Here are some alternative shots from the weekend. The event photos can be seen here.

Hooves 1

Hooves 2

Hooves 3

Hooves 4

Keeping in the Cool

Keeping in the Cool