Working for birds in Africa

Bird Recordings from The Gambia

Fri, 12/21/2012 - 23:55 -- abc_admin
Steve Smith. 1994. Single cassette. Privately produced, but available from WildSounds, Cross Street, Salthouse, Norfolk NR25 7XH, UK. UK£7.50.
pages 68 - 69

This tape comprises 57 separate recordings covering a total of 52 different species. The liner notes list all recordings. For each the English name, scientific name, date and location of the recording are given. In some instances, additional species that are obviously audible in the recording are also listed. Species names follow Birds of The Gambia by M K Gore, and are verbally identified on the tape, using English names, at the end of each recording. I found one instance of divergence between the notes and the tape: Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri is used on the tape and Ring-necked Parakeet in the liner notes - this slight discrepancy should cause the listener no problem. There is a reasonable gap between the recordings, making clear identification of each track easy.

The quality of the recordings is variable. Of the 57 tracks. 1 rated five as poor, 23 as reasonable, 25 as good and four as very good. The poor-quality recordings possessed a lot of background noise and it was sometimes quite difficult to establish what sounds the subject was making and what was interference. With reasonable recordings it was always possible to identify the sound the subject was making and what constituted extraneous noise. Some of the reasonable recordings I rated as such owing to their brevity. The good and very good recordings had little or no extraneous noise, were very clear and of sufficient length to include a useful sample for that species.

On the whole the tape is worth listening to and, at UK£7.50, reasonable value for money. Given the lack of material specifically aimed at The Gambia, anyone wishing to research bird songs before going to this popular destination really needs to seriously consider purchasing this cassette.

Roy Hargreaves

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