Spring Pond Bog Habitat 1300px © Lang Elliott Dawn chorus featuring Hermit Thrushes, White-throated Sparrows, and more. 4:35am, 21 June 2000. Spring Pond Bog Preserve near Tupper Lake, New York. © Lang Elliott. Please play at a low volume to simulate a natural listening experience.

White-throated Sparrow © Lang ElliottOver the Fourth of July holiday, Bob McGuire and I spent two days at Spring Pond Bog, a wonderful Nature Conservancy preserve in a remote area of the Adirondack Mountains near the village of Tupper Lake. The preserve is a whopping 4200 acres in size and includes a giant open bogland that is over a mile long. The real jewel, however (at least in terms of sound recording) is a smaller bog that is easily accessed via a boardwalk. The small bog is carpeted with lush sphagnum moss and is populated by numerous black spruce and tamarack trees, most under ten feet in height. Pitcher plants are scattered throughout, along with Bog Laurel, Leatherleaf, and Bog Cranberry.

Hermit Thrush © Lang ElliottThe small bog and its surroundings provide a haven for boreal birds. Hermit Thrushes nest in the forest edge. In the bog itself, White-throated Sparrows are numerous, their whistles enlivening the dawn chorus. There is almost always a resident Lincoln’s Sparrow or two, and it is not unusual to find both Palm Warbler and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.

swainson's thrush photo © Lang ElliottI’ve visited Spring Pond Bog on several occasions. While Bob and I managed to capture some compelling soundscapes and numerous species-closeup recordings during our weekend visit, my favorite dawn chorus soundscapes are from the year 2000, when there was a Swainson’s Thrush adding its musical song to the chorus.

The featured recording is a true-to-life representation of the amazing soundscape heard from the boardwalk at around 4:45 am in the morning. Below is another recording I made in 2000, with both species of thrush prominent, along with the repeated, staccato che-lek! calls of a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher:

Dawn chorus at Spring Pond Bog featuring Hermit Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, and more. 5:45am, 26 June 2000. Spring Pond Bog Preserve near Tupper Lake, New York. © Lang Elliott.

Lincoln's Sparrow © Lang ElliottWhat follows is a soundscape portrait of a Lincoln’s Sparrow, recorded last Sunday morning at the bog (its exuberant song has been likened to that of a House Wren, but I think it’s much prettier).

What a delightful melody, heard against a backdrop of White-throated Sparrow whistles and Hermit Thrush flute-notes … along with numerous other bird songs, including those of Nashville Warbler and Golden-crowned Kinglet (listen for super-high whistles during the last half of the recording). The Lincoln’s Sparrow’s thrilling outbursts erupt like sparkles in the bogland soundscape.

Lincoln’s Sparrow immersive portrait (two song sequences blended one into the other). 4:45am, 3 July 2016, Spring Pond Bog Preserve, near Tupper Lake, New York. © Lang Elliott.

When Bob and I left on Monday morning, we came across a Winter Wren singing not far from the trail. The wren stayed put long enough for me to capture an immersive sound portrait:

Winter Wren singing along trail. 5:15am, 4 July 2016, Spring Pond Bog Preserve, near Tupper Lake, New York. © Lang Elliott.

Here is a photo of Spring Pond Bog taken from the boardwalk in mid-morning … what an absolutely beautiful spot, a stunning manifestation of the northern boreal ecosystem:

Spring Pond Bog 1300px © Lang Elliott

Our trip was rejuvenating and both of us experienced great pleasure in once again hearing the magical and utterly sublime bogland soundscape. I lived in the Adirondacks for a number years earlier in my life, so this was truly a reunion, and one that nurtured my mind, body and spirit, bringing back wonderful memories of times spent alone and with friends in this splendid northern setting.

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