I don't know that equipment, so this is not really an answer
but... even though hitting the limiter would not allow it to go over-meter, it's not going to sound nice. You'll hear it suddenly flat-line.
If you've no other safety-net, I'd suggest testing before-hand how much noise-floor you perceptively gain at -6 or -12 & see which you can live with.
I found the main problem.
The Sony PCM-M10 has a microphone setting called "MIC SENSE (ATT)". It is a small, black two-way switch on the upper back right side of the device. This switch should normally be set to "HI". It should only be set to "LO" if especially loud, sudden noises are expected.
I had it set to LO incorrectly.
you nailed the problem: you are too far away from the birds (I assume you cannot get closer to the birds). Your best option is to use a much more directional microphone (yours are omnidirectional) : something that picks-up sound mostly from what's in front of it -> by pointing this type microphone towards the birds, you will have a stronger "bird signal".
Don't mount an M10 to your head. You're going to get all kinds of sound transmission / handling noise (i.e. unusable audio). Put it in a shock-mount system akin to a this rycote system and use the windscreen. Yes, they shed, but if you brush them the loose hair will usually come out and then you're good. Yes it's expensive and will cost up front, but it will ...
What I've done in the past is have a couple of cheap (£20) tie-clip mics in a rucksack. If you use a bag with a top flap rather than a zip-up bag, you can clip each mic to either side of the flap, or attach them to the shoulder straps and have all the cables out of sight inside the bag.
I've done this for discreet recordings, and for walking around. With ...
I use a Mix-pre into a Nagra Mezzo. It works well and is very portable. With a pair of DPA 4060's I can pack it into a case and take it anywhere.
I've not owned 702 before, so can't comment specifically, but I don't think you would regret either choice. One nice thing about the Mix-pre if you go that route is that it works well with either a 744 or the ...
"Head to head" internal mic recording test of Sony M-10 vs. D-50.
I have owned a D-50 for about 8 years, purchased the moment it came out and used about twice a week. I did have a period of non-use but stored it with fresh batteries and did not get the "dead" problem I've read about. I've owned an M-10 for about 2 years and used it occasionally.
Stereo effect is highly dependent on placement of microphones. Even a great microphone can have poor stereo if it is not in the right spot.
If you experiment, you might be surprised.
To me, the great problem with most stereo microphones is the difficulty in going to mono.
MS stereo solves this (I use an ECM-989 or 999).
I use a Audio Technica AT875R short shotgun mic.
It is supposed to be powered with 48V Phantom power, but actually you can power it from the couple of volts plug-in power from the Sony M10 , believe it or not. Obviously, there is a drop-off in performance but it works quite well.
The upside is the AT875 produces a large output signal so it doesn't require ...