About

Irish Wildlife Sounds was created by Seán Ronayne – a Cork-born ornithologist (BSc Zoology, MSc Marine Biology, MSc Ecological Assessment), upon returning home to Ireland after three years living and surveying in Barcelona, with his Catalan partner.

Inspired by the wealth of the wild soundscapes there, Seán took up sound recording, travelling all around Catalunya, recording in his spare time. In January 2021, Seán brought his new-found passion back home with him, and decided to start up Irish Wildlife Sounds, to document, share and pay homage to the wild sounds of his home country.

Seán primarily records with a Dodotronic Hi-Sound Stereo Parabola paired with an Olympus LS-12 recorder, but, also uses Audiomoths to passively record in the field. His primary interests are birds but he also likes to record mammals and wild soundscapes.

Seán (and Toby!) on a sound-recording trip to the Catalan Pyrenees – Summer 2020. Photo: Seán Ronayne

Our Equipment

Dodotronic Hi-Sound Stereo Parabola

The Dodotronic Stereo Hi-Sound, passively recording passage of nocturnal migrants, in El Prat de Llobregat, near Barcelona – Spring 2020. Photo: Seán Ronayne

Frequently used by us to sound-record birds – the amplifying quality of this parabola is ideal for the job. Acting just like a zoom lens on a camera, it allows you to record a greatly amplified version of what you hear with the naked ear, focusing on the sound at which you point it, making it pop, all the while allowing you to maintain a respectful distance from your subject.

Dodotronic really have produced a superb piece of equipment – this setup is lightweight, produces very little in the way of unwanted noise and costs a fraction of the price of some of the other parabolas on the market. If you want high quality at an affordable price – this is the parabola for you – available to buy here.

Listen below to hear a sample produced by the Dodotronic Hi-Sound Parabola:

Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), Calls, Cobh, Jan’ 2021

Audiomoth

An audiomoth (pictured in front of the laptop, with three lime-green batteries) , being prepared for deployment at a site with a high density of both European & Red-necked Nightjars (Caprimulgus europaeus & Caprimulgus ruficollis), Catalunya , Summer 2020. Photo: Seán Ronayne.

Audiomoths are matchbox-sized autonomous recording units, produced by Open Acoustic Devices. We love audiomoths for several reasons. They are cheap and small. This means you can easily hide one, without much risk of it being found and stolen by a member of the public. The fact that they are so cheap means that if one is stolen, it won’t hurt your pocket too much.

They are also programmable, which means you can tell them when and for how long to turn on and record. This all means that they are excellent for stealth missions – to record species which are active at night, or species that are just really elusive or difficult to record in general.

The microphone on the first version produces a little bit of a hissing sound which can be annoying, but is forgivable given what these little things are capable of doing. The good news though, is that version two – just released, has an improved internal mic’ as well as the option to incorporate an external mic’ of your choice. This is going to be a game-changer for sound-recordists on a budget and we are happy to say that we have two version twos on the way. We will report on these as soon as we receive and test them

Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) calls, Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland – Jan’ 2021