Spring Peepers calling gently at Ladyslipper Pond. 4:45am, 24 May 2016. Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area near Ithaca, New York. © Lang Elliott. Please play at a low volume to simulate a natural listening experience.
Last night, I decided to sleep under the stars. I made my way to Ladyslipper Pond, a favorite spot where Pink Ladyslippers bloom. I quickly set up camp under a large hemlock and then placed my soundscape mic about twenty feet away. I remember thinking, “maybe an owl will pay a visit in the middle of the night, and I want to be ready”.
The night proved uneventful. No owl visitations. But it was beautiful, with the bright, slightly waning moon throwing patches of light on the forest floor. I remember awakening at around 3am and staring out over the pond. Although I was no more than a few miles from civilization, the scene appeared remote and wild. I couldn’t hear any traffic, jets, or dogs barking. I imagined that I was the only person in the entire wildlife area sleeping on the ground and gazing up at the stars.
At first light, I placed one of my mic setups near the outlet to Ladyslipper Pond, at a position where the gurgle of water can be heard, though not too loudly. The beginning of of that recording is featured above. Spring Peepers sound off from the edge of the pond and at several points the soft nasal calls of a drake Mallard can be heard. I find this recording meditative in effect.
As light came to the forest, I took my second soundscape microphone and went searching for birds. What was a gentle breeze soon began to escalate. At first I was discouraged, but then I homed-in on a Wood Thrush, singing at a fairly rapid pace as the wind increased or decreased in the canopy above. Worth recording? You bet!
Wood Thrush and Breeze. 5:45am, 24 May 2016. Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area near Ithaca, New York. © Lang Elliott. Please play at a low volume to simulate a natural listening experience.
I like this recording, which is soft on the ears (Wood Thrushes often jangle one’s brain with loud notes). About halfway through, an alarmed White-tailed Deer bounds away … a short time later, you can hear it snorting in the distance. In the last half of the recording, a woodpecker drums and then a Barred Owl hoots. At the end, there is the tentative clatter of a Gray Treefrog. What sounds nice to my ears is when the woody moves to a distant perch off to one side, adding considerable depth to the listening experience.
Altogether, it was a fine morning, wind and all. I am so grateful that I spent the night under the stars and returned home with these pleasant soundscapes, living mementos of my sojourn in the woods.
Friends … if you find that my blog has a positive impact on your life, please help support my effort by making a modest donation.
Have enjoyed your peeper all evening, so relaxing.
Ah, the night sounds. How fabulous and your recordings are so clear they take you there when our eyes close. Hah! My fireman son in law at a very large forest fire up in northern Minnesota several years ago did COMPLAIN about the veeeery noisy whippoorwills interfering with his night time naps. For me I do love the whippoorwills! However, I am glad I don’t live close to a nearby blue heron rookery. Ooooh, they never stop and they are loud!!! Thanks
I once was dropped off on an island in Maine to record Great Blue Herons. I spent the entire night next to a colony and got not even a wink of sleep.
thank you, lang. i keep sharing with many friends. you’ve been a big part of my music library and more people should learn about you. i’m doing my part, so you can keep doing yours 😉
Thank you greenbird!
love this one so much. the water has a particularly rich lovely sound. and it really is one for the medititative track. the peepers are hypnotic and the occasional visitor like soft quack or other song is just a nice little point of interest, not jarring. i love to think of you sleeping under the stars and truly appreciating it like you do.
It is good-sounding water, with a little on the left and on the right. I actually placed a stone in one place to reduce a hollow sound that wasn’t too my liking (MY BAD … messing with nature!).
i bet that stone didn’t mind being move a bit 🙂
well, it was stoned and therefore unaware that I did anything.
Good Lord! I’m moving to NY.
But are you willing to camp out under the stars?
It’s funny, but when the barred owl calls, my brain is positive that I am hearing a sound coming from outside the building I am in while listening, even though the sound is coming from the computer speakers right in front of me. Nice mellow sounds. I too heard a Wood Thrush calling yesterday morning but it was not quite as insistent as this guy.
That’s due to the binaural aspect of my microphone, which imitates the human head.
Oh these are such treasures! Thank you Lang. A vicarious natural experience for the rest of us. And…is that an ovenbird in the distance in the second recording? Still must get outside. Weather in Northern VA is now, finally, gorgeous…
Yes, I do it in part so all my fans can experience my nature excursions vicariously. Seems like a nice formula; I just need to figure out the finances, especially when I start traveling again.
Marilyn: what are you calling “Northern VA”?
not sure if marilyn will see your question but i imagine she means near washington, DC. that’s what it’s called locally.