Saturday, June 8, 2024

The Next Device For Testing & Review Is Here! The Hi-Sound Compact Parabolic Microphone from Dodotronic

As stated in a recent blog post, I was actively seeking the next bat detector (or wildlife sound recorder) to review:

1st for The BatAbility Club, as a live webinar/presentation.


2nd for a text-based review/blog post, to appear here on the blog.

Well, I had parabolic dish microphones on my mind. So, the first company I reached out to – was Dodotronic. I remembered seeing some very interesting parabolic dish microphones on their website.

After reaching out to Ivano, at Dodotronic, it was decided that The Hi-Sound Compact would be the device to test & review.

It is a compact, and affordable parabolic dish microphone on the Dodotronic website.

The live webinar/presentation/review of this interesting bit of kit, will be viewable to members of the BatAbility Club; on July 8th.

I am happy to report, that Dodotronic shipped me a review sample straight away. And it arrived here in New York this afternoon!

The Hi-Sound Compact

I would also like to take this opportunity, to inform the reader that I will once again, be actively seeking a device to review, for the live webinar following this one. Which will take place approximately 2 months from now.

If you are a manufacturer of bat detectors, and would like to have your bat detector featured/reviewed during a live webinar for The BatAbility Club: Please contact me!

Happy bat detecting!

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Book Review: 'Sound Identification of Terrestrial Mammals of Britain & Ireland'

'Sound Identification of Terrestrial Mammals of Britain & Ireland'

By Neil Middleton 

Stuart Newson 

Huma Pearce 

With photography by Sandra Graham

The following, is my "Cliff notes version", of the back cover of the book:

A volume covering 42 species of terrestrial mammal. From the red deer to the pygmy shrew, from the pine marten to the hedgehog. Treated as a single field of study... This volume covers survey methods, the analysis of sound recordings, as well as software. The book includes species in Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

This book contains almost 300 figures in total, each species covered in detail, along with specific spectrogram examples.

In addition, this book allows the reader to access a (downloadable) sound library, with more than 250 recordings. I won’t go into too much detail about it here, but I will say that I found it to be a very valuable resource.

The authors have extensive experience and expertise in bioacoustics, as well as in the sound identification of mammals. 

They are also heavily involved in creating tools that use machine learning algorithms to identify mammal species from their calls (quite fascinating).

The image on the front cover of the book, is of a Red Deer stag (Cervus elaphus) calling (by Philippe Clement

The book was published November 14th 2023. It is 392 pages in length, with 328 figures, 16 colour photos, 43 maps, and 98 tables.
It weighs 1150 grams.
It arrived promptly (to me in New York) and well packaged. 

Check out the Pelagic Publishing page on it.

Physically, it’s a beautiful hardcover book; featuring high quality paper. You’ll see what I mean when you get your copy…

It’s also available on The NHBS site:

Chapter 1 – Introduction & Context 

This first chapter helps to lay out what the scope of the book is. As well as:
The differences between audible and ultrasonic sound, examples of the estimated populations of both small and large terrestrial mammals in the British Isles, some of the things surveyors can expect to encounter, classifications/the various orders of mammals in Britain and Ireland, and what influenced the authors decisions in choosing what would be covered in the book.
It may seem a bit vague, but what struck me about this chapter, is simply how very well laid out and well written it was.

Chapter 2 – Survey Equipment & Field Techniques

One of my favorite chapters in the book, it deals with The technology employed when performing mammal surveys. As always, I’m very keen on discussions of various kit. This chapter provides the reader with an introduction to: Gathering, and interpreting acoustic data; it includes a very useful chart organizing terrestrial mammals by which are (predominantly) audible, or ultrasonic. It covers: an overview of frequency and amplitude in relation to distance, external influences on the distance at which sound may be heard or recorded, recording quality, signal-to-noise ratio, and survey equipment.
Also, some very useful info regarding: how to make the most of video recordings, as well as a valuable chart on estimated distance in meters, for the recording of animals in the family Muridae. In this case: various mice, voles, shrews, and rats. The authors touched on the most helpful information regarding microphones and their use, and related equipment.

Chapter 3 - Analysis of Acoustic Recordings

Topics covered include: The various software applications currently available, ultrasonic sound, frequency/time, sound analysis (obviously), sound versus noise, attenuation, measurements, as well as filters and classifiers.
There is also a table depicting sound component shapes encountered during call analysis – this will be a valuable resource for ecologists!

Chapter 4 - The authors provide an overview, of the six chapters which follow (chapters five through 10).

Chapter 5 – Even-toed Ungulates / dear species and wild boar

Chapter 6 – Carnivores / Wildcat, fox, badger, otter, stoked, as well as other mysteries

Chapter 7 – Lagomorphs / Rabbit and hare species

Chapter 8 – Rodents (large) / squirrel species, and beaver

Chapter 9 – Rodents (small) / rat, mouse, vole, and dormouse species

Chapter 10 – Insectivores / hedgehog, mole, and shrew species
Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed this chapter; since I’m very interested in moles and shrews. Unfortunately, hedgehogs are not native to the United States.

These six chapters did not disappoint! They were each filled with invaluable, modern-day resources on exactly what to expect, when targeting these various species for recording and sound analysis. 

Each chapter included:
  • Wonderful tables, which could be understood at a glance.
  • Screenshots of spectrograms created in Batsound software.
  • QR codes relating to each species covered - they take you to the recorded sound files, and they work a treat!*
  • Invaluable bits of information*
* I’m being intentionally vague here, so as not to give away too much!

This book contains such relevant and useful information on the species it covers – It would make a wonderful field guide. Unfortunately, I find it to be far too lovely of a book to think about taking into the field. So perhaps it would be better to refer to it, after a day or evening of recording in the field?

Appendix I - provides a neat glossary, which would be particularly useful to beginners in this field; as well as naturalists/hobbyists just starting out.

Appendix II - Provides data on fascinating case studies. Specifically, Dormice, Water Voles, Rats, and Shrews.

Things I liked:
  • The fact that we wildlife sound recordists (both Pro & non-Pro) now have a handy reference for recording mammal sounds.
  • The book is well laid out, well written, and full of invaluable resources.
  • I like the way key points of interest, and useful data, are accessible at a glance.
  • It's very thorough, sharing all the information I would want, regarding each species it covers.
Things I didn't like:
  • I would have liked to see the technical/equipment details on which microphone & recorder was used, for many of the recordings. I say many of the recordings, because to have the gear details for all of the recordings wouldn't be practical.
First and foremost - This truly is a groundbreaking, and innovative book; being the first to tackle the splendid subject of: Recording the sounds of terrestrial mammals. It is for all intents and purposes the first, and only of its kind.
It may only cover (specific species of) Britain and Ireland...However, as many of us are aware: 
  • Some of the species surveyed are located in other parts of the world.
  • Most of the species recorded have similar (comparable) species, in other areas of the globe; ensuring that it will be useful to many.
There isn't much not to like about this book - It's certainly akin to a one-stop encyclopedia on recording terrestrial mammal sounds. 
In summary, if you work with terrestrial mammals – and most especially if it is in the British Isles or Ireland: then you simply must get a copy of this book!

Another interesting point, is that this book will be a very welcomed addition on the shelves of both professionals and hobbyists/naturalists. The excellent writing style, featured throughout - is both super-useful for an Ecologist; while being advantageous and easy to understand for a determined beginner. I say determined beginner, because it may be too technical for a complete novice.

I can't say it won't spark an interest in recording terrestrial mammals...
Note that Chapters 1 through 4 will definitely appeal to a large audience of readers. Nevertheless, right around the area of Chapter 5 and beyond, is where the book gets serious - Some might say more specifically technical.

All things considered, I can still affirm that the only prerequisite, is having an interest in the sounds which terrestrial mammals make. 
I'm confident in stating that folks such as myself, and the readers of this blog, will simply cherish this book. If you record the sounds of mammals, either as your vocation or avocation - It warrants looking into!

I hope to add some additional bits of information, reflections, thoughts and marginalia to this review going forward.

Until next time,
Happy bat detecting! Mammal recording!

P.S. My apologies for the delay in posting this review. It should've been completed a bit sooner. This time, the entire blame goes to my Fibromyalgia (and chronic pain). I had far too many days of consecutive pain, to have accomplished this review in a timely manner.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Looking for The Next Bat Detector for Review! To be Featured on Live Webinar @ The BatAbility Club!

Seeking the next bat detector (or wildlife sound recording device)

To be featured on Live Webinar/Presentation for The BatAbility Club, to air in June/July. Also, a full written review here on the blog.

If you are a manufacturer of any of the following, and would like to have your equipment featured, please contact me:

  • Bat detector/recorder
  • Parabolic Dish Microphone system
  • Hydrophone system
  • Night vision device
  • Thermal imaging device

A device capable of recording both audible and ultrasonic sounds would be ideal - I’m planning to target both bats and small terrestrial mammals. 

Happy bat detecting!

Monday, April 8, 2024

A Post to Accompany Today's Live Webinar On The BatAbility Club

An Addendum Post - To Accompany Today's Live Webinar On BatAbility Club (on The Microscopy of Pond Water).

April 8th 2023

Below, are some of what I consider the “better” Links…

For some excellent examples of some of the things I wanted to show, visit this gentleman’s site

Micscape Magazine ( is a virtual online “Headquarters” for all things microscope-related in The UK. It provides very well-organized resources for learning more about the world of microscopy - I can’t recommend it enough!

Here is a wonderful online document; which basically provides a concise education on microscopic organisms. Along with their place (and our place) in the grand scheme of things, all in just 31 pages!

Here's a Link with lots of great information available - Including a Microscopy Primer, the anatomy of a microscope, and other topics.

Even more detailed information, and especially brand/model-specific info, may be found at the major microscope manufacturers’ sites. They are: Olympus, Nikon, Zeiss, and Leica/Leitz. They’re often referred to as "The big four". 

A Link from Leica

A Link from Nikon.

A Link from Zeiss.

A Link from Olympus. 

Below are some direct links, to the various types of microscopes I discussed - From none other than one of my favourite online stores - NHBS! As I suppose is the case with many of you (Naturalists, Biologists, Scientists, et al) I feel like "a kid in a candy store" whenever I visit NHBS... Now, if someone would be kind enough to send me a Gift Certificate... 😁

Stereo Microscope:

Binocular Compound Microscope:

In an effort to demonstrate the variety of colours one may come across - Some pond water organisms I've recorded in years past - YouTube Videos:

Protist 1

Protist 2 

There are more! Located in a Playlist named 'Microscopy - Pond Water Samples'

The (free) User Manual for The Nikon Labophot microscope (the one I currently use).

A YouTube video discussing a DIY, cell phone-based solution, for those wanting to see fluorescence microscopy. It's a fairly recent video, posted only 4 months ago.

Now, if you've made it all the way through this post, to this point - You deserve to see the following incredible videos - You've "earned" it! 

Here's a link to a very comprehensive, but entertaining YouTube video, which basically goes through almost all of the microscopic creatures you'd encounter, while examining pond water samples.

It would take years of exploring, to see the diversity of creatures shown in this video. Not only are almost all of the most commonly encountered creatures covered; but they are shown using many different microscope techniques:

  • Brightfield
  • Polarization
  • Phase Contrast
  • Fluorescence
  • DIC (Dual Interference Contrast) - An expensive technology!
I plan to add more excellent links to this post soon!
I'm very keen on Microscopy, and I have no shortage of things to share...

Until next time,
Happy bat detecting! Pond dipping!

Saturday, March 23, 2024

The Next Book To Be Reviewed: ‘Sound Identification Of Terrestrial Mammals Of Britain & Ireland’

The Spring of 2024 is here, and it’s associated weather is fast approaching.

I’m sorry to report that there really aren’t any new bat detectors, to test & review for the BatAbility Club (followed by a detailed /written review here on the blog).

The upcoming live webinar/presentation, for BatAbility Club Members on April 8th will basically be everything you’ve always wanted to know about examining pond water with a microscope! It will very likely cover several related topics as well.

The next book to be reviewed here is: Sound Identification Of Terrestrial Mammals Of Britain & Ireland’ by 

Neil Middleton 

Stuart Nelson

Huma Pearce 

What do you do when you first pick up a book? 

The majority of you, will open it up to the table of contents - so far, so good, nothing strange there. 

I’ll tell you what I do. I go to the table of contents, scan through and pick out whichever chapters appeal to me most…
I make a mental note of the page numbers, and check out each of them in order. 
When I picked up this book, I made a mental note of page 13, and page 295. 

Survey Equipment & Field Techniques   Page 13

Insectivores - Hedgehogs, Moles & Shrews   Page 295

And those chapters did not disappoint!

Why those chapters? Easy: I love Tech, gadgets, and field recording techniques!
And, I’m very keen on Moles and Shrews!

Until next time,

Happy bat detecting Mammal recording!

P.S. If you are manufacturer of microphones + parabolic dishes, and would like to have your equipment reviewed (in June/July) - Contact me.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Review: The Ranger - From Titley Scientific

The Ranger is a brand, new, cutting edge, wildlife recorder, which has just been released from Titley Scientific.

Building upon the success of their Chorus and AnaBat Swift Titley has developed a fully customizable, long-lasting, wildlife recorder.

Photo credit: Titley Scientific

It features:

  • Three microphone ports.
  • The ability to choose from a wide range of microphones.
  • With Titley‘s currently available microphones, many different combinations are possible.
The Quick Start User Guide.

Two audible microphones, and one omnidirectional Ultrasonic microphone.

A quick peek at the Titley ranger powered on.

The Ranger’s main specifications are as follows:
  • Physical size: 194 x 123 x 50mm (7.64 x 4.84 x 1.97 inches).
  • Weight: 478 Grams (16.86oz.) without batteries.
  • it may be powered by: 4 or 8 AA size batteries, external power sources, or solar (optional kit available).
  • Sample rates: 500, 384, 320, 192, 96, 48, 44.1, 32, 24, or 22.0 5 Ksps.
  • Frequency range: 20Hz to 250kHz.
  • 2 SD cards supported (up to 1TB each)
  • GPS - The Ranger performs daily fixes, and supports GPS enabled transect mode.
  • 3 Channels: 1 Front mounted, ultrasonic or acoustic, two sides (acoustic only). simultaneous recording.
  • Headphone jack for FD output (ultrasound) and stereo acoustic.
  • File Output: Full spectrum (wav), ZC, GPS (.gpx), Temperature (.csv).

The Ranger unattended bat/wildlife sound recorder, has the ability to use many different microphones. Among the commonly selected options are:

  • Low-profile, side-mount, audible microphone product code: AAAB028 current price $99 US 
  • *Remember to always check Titley’s website for prices*
  • Omni directional acoustic microphone AS-0 product code: AAB016 V1 $225 US
  • Directional Ultrasonic microphone US-D product code: AAAB013 V1 current price $325 US 
  • Omni-Directional Ultrasonic Microphone US-O V3 product code: AAA012 V3 current price $199 US
The Ranger arrived to me, here in New York (from the headquarters in Australia) in a heavy-duty, black plastic bag with embedded bubble wrap:

And inside of that black package…

And finally upon opening the box:

Remember that your (chosen) microphones are under the cardboard flaps.

Additional specifications: 
  • Housed in a camouflage, weatherproof/shockproof (IP67) with tripod mounting hole.
  • 2.4 inch color LCD touchscreen display.
  • Warranty: Recorder 2 years, Microphones 1 year.
  • Lockable security box, microphone, extension cables, power lead, and solar panel Kit are all available options.
Some additional items of interest include:
  • The microphones are indeed “weatherproof, and highly sensitive”.
  • When testing the headphone jack, with default settings, the output was very sensitive and accurate. As sensitive as any microphone I’ve ever tested.
  • Batteries are stated to last 100 nights (ultrasonic) or 700 hours acoustic (depending on temperatures).
  • The Ranger may be configured as: mono or stereo – acoustic, as well as Ultrasonic – simultaneously.
The new Ranger, deployed on carbon fiber tripod (on my deck).
The resulting recordings (Northern Barred Owls & Coyotes, will be featured on my YouTube Channel soon...

Here's an unboxing video:

Additional accessories available, include:
  • Chorus and Ranger security box and cable lock product code: AAAB032 $145 US *Please remember to check the Titley website for current prices*
  • Solar panel kit for the Ranger (is provided with everything needed). Solar Panel for Ranger or Swift product code: AAA034 $120 US
  • Ranger accessories bundle: case, microphone cable, and USB cable product code: AAAB035 current price $70 US
Quick Start User Guide:
  • Informs you of AnaBat Insight software (With QR code).
  • Refers you to the user manual (via QR code).
  • Firmware updates, Titley website, AnaBat user community, and YouTube channel are all provided via QR code squares.
  • Microphone care guide.
  • How to start recording with your Ranger.
  • Inserting microphones.
  • Selecting, recording mode: a.) custom, b.) day only, c.) dusk and dawn, d.) Night only, e.) continuous
  • Select microphone settings.
  • Information about GPS.
  • Final checks, etc.
  • Testing/ensuring all is OK using the magnet on lanyard.
On the subject of batteries…
  • I installed the Duracell optimum batteries to start with. They only lasted about one full overnight session.
  • The energizer batteries, I replace them with fared much better: providing several nights of recording.
  • Those were replaced with Kodak brand AA batteries.
This was definitely a case for eneloop brand batteries. And I promptly ordered some.

The Ranger creates several file folders by default, whenever it records. These are Recordings – main folder/root, which then contains three subfolders: Acoustic, FS Ultrasonic, Simultaneous. This turned out to be very convenient in practice. 

The latest firmware adds, a host of brand new features!

Things I like - Generally speaking:
  • The features it has.
  • The fact that it can use 2 audible and 1 ultrasound microphone simultaneously.
  • It’s robust design (similar to previous models).
  • The ease of deployment – easy to choose/preset mode selection.
Detailed Battery status 

One of my local bats, just having a snack...
Having a look at a Ranger FS recording (just a peek at the spectrogram) with AnaBat Insight software.

Amoung some of the interesting, and/or unique features of this new unit, are things like:
  • The ability to input an Asset Tag Number.
  • Ability to set the sensitivity of the attached microphones, etc.
  • Being able to set what the voltage level should be, for external power cutoff (the default is 10v).

  • With microphones supplied: it is extremely sensitive.
  • Creates clean, accurate, recordings.
  • Default settings, produced excellent sound quality recordings – well balanced/no clipping.
  • Excellent/detailed battery status information.
  • Ease of deployment – easy to choose modes – via mode button.
  • May be considered relatively expensive.
  • Bluetooth connectivity would've been nice.
Obviously, Titley wildlife sound recording products have a loyal following, worldwide; and for good reason: They produce professional-level products. Their recorders are used and trusted by many of the world's top researchers, et al.

Those who are loyal customers of Titley, will be happy to see many of the great features they have come to expect from this brand. Things like:
  • Ease of deployment.
  • Accurate, professional audio recordings.
  • A myriad of customization features, as well as scheduling, etc.
Currently, you can order the new Ranger units, right on Titley's website!

I plan to add some more Ranger-specific tips & tricks to this review soon... There will also be some audio files...either here, or on my YouTube channel.

Some additional tidbits: I've recently learned that one (US-based) group studying wolves, sets their recorders to:
  • Record between 6am - 6pm
  • 22kHz sample rate, 12dB of gain
  • 200-750 for mid max frequency
  • 1.5 to 60 second recordings
Also, that coyotes typically vocalize at 600Hz on the low end.

Another (US-based) group, studying Barn Owls:
  • Set their recorders to record at 30-60 minutes after sunset / and 30 minutes before sunrise.
  • Set their sample rate to 12kHz - for Barn Owls (24kHz for other owls).
  • Often record in 30 minute blocks
  • Set their gain to 24db
  • Frequency 1.5 to 3.3 Hz
  • Detection length to 0.3 to 1.2 seconds
  • Maximum inter-syllable gap to 0.001

Until next time,
Happy bat detecting!

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The Ranger Bat & Wildlife Sound Recorder - Addendum To Recent Presentation For The BatAbility Club

This post serves as a follow up, to the recent presentation I gave, for the BatAbility Club - On The brand new Ranger from Titley Scientific.

  • The live webinar/presentation review went very well; all the major points and features were well covered for The BatAbility Club (members). I just want to take this opportunity, to add a few extra bits of info:

Just some minor items which I didn’t get to mention, since we ran out of time.

To reiterate: It arrived here, for testing and review –  directly from the source – Titley’s headquarters in Australia.   

I’m happy to inform you, that the brand new Ranger, recently developed by Titley Scientific, is everything you would imagine it to be! 

It boasts:

  • Outstanding sensitivity.
  • Perfect, highly accurate, distortion-free recordings; with superb resistance to clipping.
  • Super-easy deployment via one mode button.
  • Robust built-in GPS, which integrates seamlessly with the system.
  • A headphone jack and the ability to do transects.
These are in addition to it’s built-in features, which are immediately obvious when glancing at Titley‘s web page on the Ranger. Things like:
  • 3 microphone ports & the ability to use all three simultaneously.
  • The ability to choose from, and use several different models/combinations of microphones.
  • Two memory card slots - each able to accommodate SD cards up to 1TB in size.
  • Easy to use colour touch screen.
  • Ability to utilize 8 AA sized batteries.
  • Option to be powered by solar panels.

In addition:

The ability to produce and append useful meta-data to each recording.

Superior built-in organization in relation to file folders (multiple folders automatically generated).

The option to fully, and easily customise many of the unit’s individual features.

I have more to add! To be continued…

Happy bat detecting!

Stock photo by Titley.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

The Next Bat Detector to be Reviewed: The Brand New Ranger from Titley Scientific

The next bat detector to be tested and reviewed - Via Live webinar/presentation - For (members of) The BatAbility Club, will be:

The Brand New Ranger from Titley Scientific! If you click on the link, you’ll quickly see that it’s much more than just a static bat recorder - It’s designed to record audible wildlife as well! It’s also designed with lots of excellent features.

It’s not officially available to the public yet - That’s how new it is!

This will be sometime in February 2024!

Until then, Have a Merry Christmas! 🎄 and a Happy New Year!🎊 

Happy bat detecting!

The Next Device For Testing & Review Is Here! The Hi-Sound Compact Parabolic Microphone from Dodotronic

As stated in a recent blog post, I was actively seeking the next bat detector (or wildlife sound recorder) to review: 1st for The BatAbility...