Gerard Mc Manus-Dublin - suburban garden
Walkinstown, Dublin, Ireland.
Gerard Mc Manus
Microphones positioned at an upstairs window, above an overgrown suburban back garden, in the south-west of Dublin, 6 km from the city centre.
The house & garden is located on a street a little bit away from the 'main' local road, so can be reasonably quiet a lot of the time. Nevertheless, the background hum of the city ebbs and flows throughout the day, usually building at the peak traffic hours of 8.00 - 9.00 and 17.00 - 18.00, with weekends and bank holidays being the quietest. In May, birds can be heard from about 4.30, sometimes a Robin first (who may have sung at times during the night), or Blackbirds, who seem to be ever-present in the sound profile, followed by Dunnock, Wren, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Blue, Coal & Great Tits, Finches, and Herring Gulls passing as they spread inland to forage from their night-time Dublin bay & city roosts. Magpies, Jackdaw & Hooded Crow may be vocal if a cat or an urban fox shows up. A Blackbird regularly sings within 1 or 2 metres of this microphone position.
Blackbird nesting behaviour is evident, and currently there seems to be at least 3 male and 1 female frequenting the garden, involving much chattering & chasing, but seemingly mixed with some level of mutual tolerance. A pair of very tame Robins has nested, and 3 chicks fledged, often appearing in quite exposed locations in the garden, where they were fed by the adults. But after about a week they seemed to disappear, possibly not surviving predators. However, new nest building has been observed in a different location.
The evening, leading up to dusk, can be just as interesting, with song and chatter, especially from Blackbirds, and the evening sky also brings a return passage of Herring Gulls, streaming towards Dublin bay, often calling loudly while pausing and circling to regroup.
Of course there are humans too.
Metallic sounds from a tramline about 1 km away can be heard, especially on calmer colder mornings, with first tram on Sat. at 6.10; sometimes also the much lower sound of a train a bit further away. Depending on weather and wind direction, planes can pass overhead to and from the airport 12 km away, on the other side of the city, with flight numbers returning to some normality post?-pandemic. Between 4.30 and 5.00, a van will approach from the bottom of the road, arriving up to the T-junction outside the house; the milkman will get out, talking on his phone as he delivers one container of milk to one house nearby, then return to the van, engine still running, and drive away.