Meadow After Rain © Lang Elliott Dawn Chorus in a small meadow after heavy rain. 5:30am, 7 May 2016, near Brooktondale, New York. © Lang Elliott. Please don’t play too loudly! Adjust volume for a natural listening experience.

Rising once again at 4am, I gobbled down some cereal and then rushed off to meet with my friend Melissa Groo, a talented wildlife photographer who lives along the upper reaches of Shindagin Hollow. We drove down into the hollow then up again to a beautiful wet meadow at the edge of the forest. Arriving at about 5:10am, just as the birds were beginning to sing, I quickly positioned my soundscape microphone in the middle of the field.

It had rained the night before and at first I was irritated at the incessant “whoosh” from a swollen creek at the bottom of the meadow. But when I closed my eyes and listened, I decided it sounded fine … great in fact … because it would provide a “warm and fuzzy envelope” for the dawn chorus. What’s more, a woodcock was peenting nearby and I knew that he alone would make the recording worthwhile. So I hit the record button and we retreated to my car, driving back down into the hollow so that our chatting would not disturb things.

Back in my studio, I am delighted with what I hear. Even though it’s still early May, there’s a lot of activity. What fun it is to discern the different species and then relax back into the totality of the soundscape, appreciating the gentle loveliness of the mix — whooshy backdrop included. Below is a list of the species that I hear. Maybe you will notice one or two more?

  • American Robin (singing in background throughout)
  • Wood Thrush (song at 0:06)
  • American Woodcock (nasal peents starting at 0:07, plus flight twittering at 1:05)
  • Mourning Dove (coos, starting at 0:08)
  • Field Sparrow (musical, whistled songs; first loud one at 0:16)
  • Eastern Towhee (songs … “drink-your-teee”; fairly loud one at 0:20)
  • Brown Thrasher (chjjj calls … soft in background at 1:22)
  • Ovenbird (one fairly loud song overlaps Field Sparrow song at 5:16)
  • Dark-eyed Junco (musical trills, a fairly loud one at 6:07)

I am absolutely in love with this recording, which at first I thought was going to be ruined by the whoosh of the runoff. Boy was I wrong! Or maybe I’m deluded and only think it’s great because the sun shined through this morning for the first time in days, erasing all negativity from my judgmental mind. So I call upon you, my beloved readers and listeners, to tell me if it’s wonderful or not …

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