Early autumn dawn chorus featuring Blue Jays, Carolina Ground Crickets, Red-shouldered Hawk, Black-capped Chickadees, Eastern Chipmunk, Gray Squirrel and more. 6:30am, 26 September 2016. Shindagin Hollow near Brooktondale, New York. © Lang Elliott.
As autumn turns to winter, I find myself spending less time outdoors and way more time in front of my computer. Nonetheless, I have managed to get several new field recordings, the most interesting being a soundscape I recorded in Shindagin Hollow a few weeks ago. It is a lovely recording, documenting the excited calls of a group of Blue Jays, given as they search for food along the edge of a small, dried-up stream. A condensed, 10-minute version of the actual hour-long recording is featured above.
Although the jays dominate the soundscape (along with the soft trilling of Carolina Ground Crickets), the calls of a number of other species become evident later in the recording. Most significant are a number of loud outbursts from a Red-shouldered Hawk, heard first at around 3:30. A little later, a Black-capped Chickadee chimes-in with loud calls and an Eastern Chipmunk can be heard clucking softly in the background (the clucks are aerial predator alarm calls … he’s probably reacting to the Red-shouldered Hawk). At the end, a Gray Squirrel suddenly sounds off from an overhead tree, his harsh chucks being impossible to miss. Other more subtle sounds can be heard in the background throughout. Listen for the calls of robins, nuthatches, and perhaps kinglets.
I hope you enjoy this autumn delight. I was certainly quite happy to have gotten these wonderful sounds. My recording technique shouldn’t surprise you. I set my mic and recorder along the stream at first light and then went wandering with some friends. I returned an hour later, gathered up my gear and then headed in town to my studio, expecting a rather low-key result. Imagine my delight at discovering all the Blue Jay activity, and especially the Red-shouldered Hawk … I had no idea there was one in the hollow. And when I found the Gray Squirrel outburst near the end, I smiled from cheek-to-cheek. How fortunate indeed, and how nice to share this engaging soundscape with all of you!
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