Journey Highlights #3 – Oklahoma & Texas

Bull Buffalo Calling with tongue out © Lang Elliott

After recording in Missouri’s tallgrass prairie, I drove south and west to spend an afternoon and evening in the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Oklahoma, followed by an overnight at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in the Hill Country of Texas. In spite of miserably hot temperatures and a fairly stiff breeze, I managed to snag a few really useful recordings, including: bison (buffalo) growls, prairie dog barks, the rattles of a new katydid, and a rousing dawn chorus of white-winged doves:

Journey Highlights #2 – Tallgrass Prairie

Taberville Prairie, SW Missouri, © Lang Elliott

From August 1-2, I visited two tallgrass prairie locations in southwestern Missouri. One favorite spot is Taberville Prairie Conservation Area, a beautiful refuge with a sweeping view from the parking lot. About an hour to the west, the Prairie State Park also sports wonderful expanses of prairie grasses. In this blog post, I’ll share my favorite recordings from this portion of my recording expedition.

Moo-Scape

cows in meadow

During the third week of May, farmers release their cows into the meadows at Finger Lakes National Forest. As you might suspect, their appearance can have a drastic effect on the natural soundscape. This morning provided a case in point. I arrived at Willow Pond at first light, with the intention of wandering the edge of marsh and meadow in search of an interesting mix of sound. I was expecting to hear some moos from the cows, but not a massive group performance lasting nearly ten minutes …

Beaver Moanings

American Beaver - shutterstock

What kind of voice does the beaver have? Would you ever guess that the young make expressive moans from within the den, especially in the autumn of the year? This is my all-time favorite beaver recording! Listen with an open heart and you will fall totally in love with these little guys …

Porcupine Squeals

Porcupine - from Shutterstock

Having posted recordings of the groundhog and raccoon, several of my readers inquired about the porcupine. So here’s a recording of porcupine squeals that I made in the Adirondack Mountains way back in 1988, at the very beginning of my nature recording career …

Raccoon Fight

Raccoon © Lang Elliott

Just having published a blog post featuring a groundhog fight, I’ve decided to post a raccoon fight for comparison. This is an old recording, from September of 1990, yet it is still my best example of fighting or scuffling within a family group. Notice the whining that precedes three outbursts of loud and raucous calls. This is typical of what the mostly nocturnal raccoons do, and is usually heard in the dead of the night. In comparison, groundhogs are day-active (diurnal) and are unlikely to be heard at night.

Groundhog Fight

Groundhog © Lang Elliott

Late this afternoon I went on a nature walk near where I live. While ambling along a trail through the forest, I was startled by loud screaming, coming from a large pile of brush right next to the trail. There I spied two groundhogs, locked together in a fight. A large one was overpowering a smaller one and the loser was crying bloody murder …

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