Misty morning in Shindagin Hollow with Wood Thrush inset. Drip after a rainy night, with Wood Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Allard’s Ground Cricket, and distant Barred Owl and Mourning Dove. July 28, 2018 at around 7am. Recording and photograph © Lang Elliott. NOTE: Please wear headphones for a fully immersive 3D listening experience.

Note: The recording featured above is a “3D binaural soundscape”. Please wear headphones for a profound listening experience that will make you think you’re actually out there, immersed in the natural world!

I always strive to keep my ears well-tuned, in order to perceive uplifting soundscapes that might easily escape notice, but sometimes I am not quite up to the task. Such was the case in late July of 2018.

I met up with two recording friends at one of my favorite wild areas … Shindagin Hollow in upstate New York, near where I live. We were very glad to see one another and immediately began chatting about this and that as we hooked up our recording equipment (they with parabolic reflectors and me with my binaural soundscape microphone). Then we dispersed, heading into the forest in different directions, each hoping to capture something of value.

It was then that I paused for a moment just to take in the scene … a foggy misty morning following a rainy night … the deep forest of hemlocks and hardwoods … drip from leaves in all directions … and subtle bird songs. I took a long slow breath and began to amble down the trail. At that moment, a wood thrush caught my attention, singing in the distance though quite clear. I stopped and listened more attentively … another was sounding off from even farther away, and a very faint one as well, unless I was just imagining it. And did I just hear a hermit thrush, buried in the mix?

Oh my, I almost did not notice … there, right next to the road, a lone ground cricket trilling prominently from the gravel. How could I have missed such an obvious sound? And then I detected a barred owl, hooting way off in the distance. And a mourning dove, just audible, cooing softly time and again.

Suddenly, I shook myself awake, finally aware of the miracle before me! The magic I was hoping to find somewhere down the trail was actually right next to me, fully and elegantly expressed! I did not need to walk down the trail in search of anything because nature was already showering me with an exalted mix, an elixir so pure and powerful that it thrilled my entire being, but only after I became fully receptive to it. Had I kept walking, I would have missed it entirely. Thank you wood thrush for breaking the spell of my self absorption, for unplugging my ears and inviting me into the here and now!

So finally I jumped into action … I quickly set up my soundscape mic, hit record, and prayed that nothing would interrupt this amazing concert so freely given. How careful we must be to keep our minds calm and quiet and our senses free of interference, so that we do not miss the extraordinary beauty that nature showers upon us, sometimes subtly, and often when we least expect it to arrive.

Shindagin Hollow - misty morning forest scene © Lang Elliott

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56 Comments
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Trudy Gerlach
Trudy Gerlach
26 days ago

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Thanks so much.

Debbie
Debbie
1 month ago

Oh how I love the wood thrush and sadly they are becoming so rare. Such a beautiful chorus and I love your description of the setting as well.

KiKi
KiKi
1 month ago

I closed my eyes and pretended I was walking in the woods. 🙂

Betsy Thomas
Betsy Thomas
1 month ago

I love listening to them any chance I get. thank-you

Martin Winfield
1 month ago

Lovely thrush medley, & the drip sets the scene perfectly. I’m glad you managed to snap yourself back into the moment & capture this for us all!

Chris Renna
1 month ago

Love this!

Judy Bennett
Judy Bennett
1 month ago

Oh boy, this takes me right back to summer. Many summers, in fact. I love summer morning bird song, and the Thrushes are one of my favorites. It’s beautiful. Thank you, Lang, for sharing this.

Judy Nietsche
Judy Nietsche
1 month ago

Thank you for this transporting concert! Wonderful! This summer we heard more thrushes singing in the woods near our house in Greenfield, MA than in the past. And in the middle of the day too which was most unusual. Or maybe we were just tuning in more to these beautiful singers.

Becky Sewell
Becky Sewell
1 month ago

Lovely lovely lovely!!! Thank you so much!

My brother lives near Shindagin and loves it, but I’ve not been there. Some day . . .

Margaret
Margaret
1 month ago

It is so wonderful to be immersed in the natural world, at least by sound and imagination. Thank you!

Janice
Janice
1 month ago

This recording in your email has made my day so much better. Thank you again.

Bill Crook
Bill Crook
1 month ago

I would be hard pressed to find another environment that could exemplify the peacefulness of an eastern woodlands. I am lucky enough to have this out my back door and will go sit quietly at times just to ponder the universe. Thanks!

Marksbirdsong
Marksbirdsong
1 month ago

That is gorgeous. The cricket just makes it perfect. Top marks for noticing how that place sounded. Thank you

Susan
Susan
1 month ago

Such an amazing delight to fill the senses and heart!…and inspire me to find MORE such experiences in my own daily life, bringing full appreciation to “ordinary” nature connection moments! Thank you so much for bringing these aural (and then some) experiences to us! Thrushes and dollopy rain are a great gift.

Linda D.
Linda D.
1 month ago

To me this is the most beautiful, mesmerizing music! I felt so relaxed while listening. The flute and trill of the Wood thrush is my absolute favorite bird song. And together with the sound of the rain drops from the trees, perfection!

Deborah
Deborah
1 month ago

How true! We often miss so much because we are looking for something beyond and fail to pay attention to what is right where we are. Even in apparently “boring” surroundings, there are little discoveries of blessing to be made.

Deborah
Deborah
1 month ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

Yes, good point. We need at times to just be quiet, alone (or even with someone else), so we can really hear and see and respond to our environment.

judy todd
judy todd
1 month ago

Missing rain here now, and so especially loved the full sound–calling it in here in the pacific northwest.
Thanks Lang, delightful ruckus!

Susanne Shrader
Susanne Shrader
1 month ago

Love it as usual, ditto all the comments below. I am making a plea that you make a lot of recordings with no water flowing, lapping, dripping etc.

Susanne Shrader
Susanne Shrader
1 month ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott
George Casselberry
George Casselberry
1 month ago

I really enjoyed the duets between the two thrush species!

Gary Shackelford
Gary Shackelford
1 month ago

Hello Lang

A spellbinding recording. I’m sure you won’t remember this, but you were my mentor for a home study course in bird photography through through the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology many decades ago. I’m still at it, trying to capture images of these beautiful creatures. It never gets old.

John Johnson
John Johnson
1 month ago

Beautiful recording. Thanks for sharing. And I must add, your well written descriptions are absolutely spellbinding. You need to write a book on your travels! You have a very rare knack for making the reader feel you are there alongside you in the forest as you describe it!

Laura Crockett
1 month ago

So lovely! And the photo makes me long live back east again. California does not have the same green that I find in NY or NJ. California may be my birth state, but the Eastern Seaboard owns my soul.

I think I shall play this again, as I fall asleep tonight. Let’s see what dreams may come, enticed by thrushes and that owl inserting itself now and then, plus that gentle rain…

Carol T
Carol T
1 month ago

The backstory of this recording is as grand as the music itself! Thank you Lang!

Colin Hunter
1 month ago

They say it always rains twice in the forest. Firstly the rain falls from the clouds onto the trees. Then, once the rain has stopped falling from the sky, a second “forest rain” falls from the canopy to the ground. This second rain is always more gentle, a softer less aggressive sound. So well captured in this recording with the beautiful accompanying birdsong. Simply wonderful.

John Johnson
John Johnson
1 month ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

Honest, I had not read this reply when I commented about your future book!

Colin Hunter
1 month ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

Permission granted!

Laura Crockett
1 month ago
Reply to  Colin Hunter

Yes!

Christine C Hass
1 month ago

Lovely!

gardenlady
gardenlady
1 month ago

Wood thrush is one of my favorite birdsongs – and love the sound of the rain. A real winner!

Luzmin
Luzmin
1 month ago

Love this. It does feel like being there. This would be great to play during the winter months.

Barbara Drummond
Barbara Drummond
1 month ago

One of your best, Lang.

MAC
MAC
1 month ago

Oh wow, I just love this! Thank you for sharing. Any chance we could access it through “Pure Nature?” I use that app all the time for my commute to work, and for general ambience at home.

MAC
MAC
1 month ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

Sounds great: thank you! I will look forward to those. I loved the Moose River Plains.

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