autumn_pond_scene2_1300 Robin flock in light rain (recording doubled in length for a longer listening experience). 3pm, 30 October 2016. Recorded in our backyard, near Ithaca, New York. © Lang Elliott.

Click Here for direct link to MP3.

Sometimes, a compelling soundscape will present itself when least expected. Yesterday afternoon, during a light rain, I took a brief walk around our pond. To my delight, a flock of American Robins had settled into the patch of woods next to the pond and individuals were calling excitedly as they flew from perch to perch. “What a nice sound,” I remember thinking, but “too bad I left my soundscape microphone in my studio downtown.”

zoom-recorder_2The more I listened, the more I wanted to document the soundscape, but I knew it was time limited … certainly the robins would be gone if I drove all the way downtown for my gear. Then I remembered my little Zoom recorder, which I’d brought home for another project. So I sprinted back home, retrieved it, and then ran back to the pond. Fortunately, the robins were still there and I got a nice-sounding 3-minute recording before a loud jet rumbled overhead. Disappointingly, though, the flock dispersed before I had a chance to continue recording.

I’m happy with this catch. Though brief and made with an inexpensive recorder, it faithfully conveys what I experienced … the gentle pitter-patter of the rain on the leaves enlivened by the varied calls of the robins. I can’t help but wonder what the birds were feeling as they gathered in excited anticipation of their autumnal migration (or maybe they were already on the move?).

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