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Sounds of Winnall Moors nature reserve near Winchester
Sebastiane Hegarty
Sebastiane Hegarty records sounds around the reserve and underwater

"I just enjoy listening to stuff," says Sebastiane Hegarty, working on his unique project recording the sounds of a Hampshire nature reserve.

The 51 year-old artist has created a "sound walk" of Winnall Moors nature reserve near Winchester.

Among the hours of recordings are noises of birds, insects, plants and sounds drifting over from the city.

The year-long project has been funded by Hampshire Wildlife Trust to mark its 50th anniversary.

Normally inaudible

Armed with an array of sophisticated recording equipment including hydrophones, bat detectors and contact microphones, Mr Hegarty has been able to capture sounds normally inaudible to the human ear.


His aim has been to record the natural history soundtrack of the reserve - such as the dawn chorus and the songs of rare migratory birds like the grasshopper warbler.

From 250 hours spent recording on the moors, he has collected the sound of wasps gnawing on wood, wire fences vibrating in the breeze and pondweed crackling as it gives off minute amounts of gas in a pond.

Mr Hegarty said: "It's really interesting to hear things drifting into the soundscape, it allows you to interpret what is already there."

Everyday sounds

He also captures everyday sounds heard around the moors including Winchester Cathedral bell practice on Wednesday nights and the sounds of canoe club training.

There are the shouts from school rugby matches drifting over from the playing fields and the sounds of the Hampshire Wildlife Trust's own conservation works.

A set of sophisticated microphones allows him to pick up small noises

He has been out hunting for sounds with his equipment at all times of the day and whatever the weather conditions.

On early starts on Christmas and New Year's Day he expected a "pure" silence but found in traffic noise actually appeared louder in cold weather.

"Sound is something that echoes through the memory. It allows you to adsorb a place and time in a poetic and dynamic way," he said.

Virtually all recordings are saved before editing - they currently take up a massive 35GB on his computer.

They will eventually be "blended" into four sound compositions, based on the seasons, which will be available to download.

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