Sounds of Nature Project
This Project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Scottish Natural Heritage
The Field Club’s Sounds of Nature Project was inspired by a chance encounter at Culkein Stoer in May 2019. Two Assynt Field Club (AFC) members stumbled across Clive Davis who was holidaying in Assynt. Clive, a member of the Wildlife Sound Recording Society, was making sound recordings of birds, etc. in the area.
Clive was asked for, and kindly sent, several of his recordings to Assynt Field Club. These recordings are now available on our website at the links below.
The mental health benefits of listening to bird song and other sounds of nature have been well reported. Our website is by necessity very visual, both with regards to images and words. The principal aim of this project therefore is to make our site, and hence Assynt’s wildlife, more accessible and meaningful. This of course is most important for those with a visual impairment, equally limited mobility has an impact on the ability to get out and listen.
Following much discussion, the Field Club decided to look for funding to purchase sound recording equipment and training in its use. Our aim was to expand on this exciting way of presenting the wildlife of Assynt to a wider audience.
The Coigach and Assynt Living Landscape Community Grant Scheme would enter its final year of funding for small local projects in 2020. We managed to submit a bid on 26th February that year. Then, on 14th April we were informed that our bid had been successful.
The main items purchased were a ‘Sound Devices MixPre-3 II Audio Recorder’ and a ‘Telinga PRO-X Parabolic Microphone System’. Clive will deliver training in the use of the equipment.
[For historical reference our bid for funding was submitted prior to the Covid-19 Pandemic. The travel, etc. restrictions it imposed forced a rethink on certain aspects. For example, we had to arrange for the training to be delivered virtually by Clive.]
A second element
In addition to making sound recordings, we aimed, as part of our bid, to stage an audio-visual exhibition in an Assynt venue during the summer of 2020.
This idea also stemmed from a chance encounter in January 2018 between AFC members and another visitor, albeit this time a professional artist, Keith Salmon.
Keith, who lives in Irvine, Ayrshire, is a visually impaired artist, and part of his recent work has included a Painting with Sound project based around Kylesku. This consists of five 120cm x 120cm oil paintings, and a stereo soundtrack. As a viewer looks at the paintings and moves around them, different elements of the soundtrack are heard through speakers. The soundtrack consists of recordings made, by Keith and his wife Nita, at several locations along the coast line at Kylesku.
We had arranged for Keith to bring the ‘Kylesku Project – Painting with Sound’ exhibition to Assynt for 4 weeks and host it in An Cala’s Marine Room during July 2020. However, the Covid-19 Pandemic meant this part of the project being put back a year. The event did eventually run from 7th June to 3rd July 2021.
Our aims with the exhibition were to raise awareness of not only AFC’s project but also the wider concept of listening to nature and the mental health benefits that doing so can offer.
Here is an article on this website all about the Kylesku Project, and which also contains a link to the full project on YouTube’.
At the time of writing we have taken delivery of our own recording equipment and it will now be a steep learning curve in its use for a few people.
Although not part of the project we intend to leave these links here as they are part of the reason why this project came about.
Sounds of Nature – Twite at Culkein Stoer (Clive Davis, May 2019)
Sounds of Nature – Dunlin at Bay of Culkein (Clive Davis, May 2019)
Sounds of Nature – Swallows at Culkein Stoer (Clive Davis, May 2019)
Sounds of Nature – Bay of Culkein Hydrophones (Clive Davis, May 2019)
Sounds of Nature – Limpets on rocks, Clashnessie (David Haines, September 2023)
Sounds of Nature – Solitary bees Clashnessie (David Haines, August 2023)
Sounds of Nature – River Inver (David Haines, February 2023)
Sounds of Nature – Gulls feeding, Loch Inver (David Haines, November 2022)
Sounds of Nature – Cuckoo Calling (David Haines, June 2022)
Sounds of Nature – Sedge Warbler (David Haines, May 2022)
Sounds of Nature – Dawn Chorus (David Haines, May 2022)
Sounds of Nature – Constant Corncrake (David Haines, June 2021)
Sounds of Nature – Bees and Birds (David Haines, June 2021)
Sounds of Nature – Cuckoos are calling (David Haines, June 2021)
Sounds of Nature – Willow Warblers galore (David Haines, May 2021)
Sounds of Nature – Waders at Clachtoll (David Haines, April 2021)
Sounds of Nature – Birds of the Culag Woods (David Haines, November 2020)
Sounds of Nature – Red Deer stag during rut (David Haines, October 2020)
Sounds of Nature – Early Autumn Birds (David Haines, September 2020)
Sounds of Nature – Birds and waves, Loch Dhrombaig (David Haines, August 2020)