As I was browsing my soundscape collection a couple of years ago, it occurred to me that I didn’t have a really good example of Red-winged Blackbirds singing and calling in a marsh. So in the spring of 2009, I decided to remedy the situation.
In late April, when the redwings were busy defending their new breeding territories, I homed-in on a small pond at the edge of a meadow in nearby Finger Lakes National Forest. The situation was perfect, except for the presence of a nearby highway. I arrived one calm morning at dawn, set my soundscape microphone at the edge of a patch of cattails, and turned on my recorder. The soundscape was excellent, but within a minute or two a car zoomed by, thwarting my effort. Soon after, I began recording again, only to be interrupted by another car. This pattern of interruptions went on for nearly twenty minutes and I got extremely frustrated. I was ready to call it quits, but decided to give it one last try . . . and to my amazement I snagged a really nice 12-minute segment, absolutely free of disturbance. Halleleujah! Here is a sample:
Red-winged Blackbirds singing in a cattail marsh at the edge of a small pond, 5:35am, 30 April 2009, Finger Lakes National Forest near Reynoldsville, New York. Recorded by Lang Elliott.
This recording is busy with sound. I like the width of the soundscape, with prominent singers both right and left. Luckily none of the redwings came too close to the microphone, so there is pretty good balance throughout, with no really annoying sound events (at least I’m not annoyed by anything, but maybe you are?).
This soundscape is obviously in the “engaging” category, meaning that it involves the listener and helps bring the mind alive. This is not a bad thing. While some recordings lead us into deep relaxation and help us fall asleep, others, like this one, bring our psyches into wakefulness and act as a celebration of the new day. How can we remain asleep when the redwings are so utterly and completely present and awake?
I’d love to hear how this recording effects you personally. Please leave a comment, if you have the time.