My goal over the last few years has been to obtain as many of the commonly heard calls in my local birding region as possible. This was done with easily portable recording gear. The equipment I use most is simple and inexpensive, a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc recorder and a Sennheiser ME66 shotgun microphone. Recordings with this combination have a sound typical of that heard by a birder in the field, and while not necessarily of the highest quality, they do represent accurate reproductions of the sounds as they were heard at the time. On occasion I use a Telinga parabolic dish with ME62 microphone. Sounds using a parabola are amplified, especially the higher frequencies, and often pick up sounds inaudible to the unaided ear.
The recordings are edited using Audacity (free downloadable software), and no changes have been made to most recordings other than amplification where necessary. In a limited number of the recordings excessive background noise has been reduced using Sound Soap software. The sonagrams are obtained using Raven software, free from Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and I've kept the time and frequency scales of comparable calls constant in any one post, unless noted. Some of the phonetic descriptions of sounds are my own, some are those used in field guides or on commercial recordings. Recordings are of perched birds, unless noted, and of spontaneously calling birds (ie no pishing). No tape playback to encourage calling or singing has been used. Many posts are incomplete, and as I get more recordings, I'll add to them (see Recent additions).
Addendum June 2010: I'm now using an Edirol R09-HR and editing my recordings with Adobe Audition.
All recordings copyright Paul Driver.
Nightingale recorded May 1979 in Hertfordshire, England with a Phillips cassette recorder.