Wild Burros of Picacho (with Coyote Finale)

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Picacho State Recreation Area dusk landscape with burro overlay (burro from Shutterstock P4071120).Wild Burros sound off at night along the shores of Lake Taylor in Picacho State Recreation Area north of Yuma, Arizona (silent intervals between outbursts have been drastically reduced). At the very end, a pair of Coyotes give ecstatic howls and tremolo calls just before dawn. Listen also for muskrats peeping (near the beginning), the hoots of distant Great Horned Owls, the occasional staccato kick calls of Ridgway’s Rails, and the soft chuckling notes of Least Bittern. Note also abundant splashes throughout that I believe were caused by fish? 6-7 April 2021. Recordings © Lang Elliott. Art Representation by Lang Elliott (with burro silhouette from Shutterstock).

Note: The recording featured above is a “3D binaural soundscape”. Please wear headphones for a spacious and immersive listening experience.

HEADING NORTH from Yuma in early April, we soon find ourselves on a dusty road that quickly transforms into a wildly bumpy thoroughfare covered with sharp-edged stones that threaten to slice our tires and deflate our spirits. After 20 miles of slow and cautious driving through bleak, parched desert, we pass by an abandoned mine backed by tall, jagged rocky peaks that look to be the home of Darth Vader or some other dark and evil force to be avoided at all costs.

Finally, several more miles up the road (with tires still inflated and spirits still intact), we breath a long sigh of relief as we arrive at Picacho State Recreation Area, which borders a nine mile stretch of the mighty Colorado River, still more-or-less replete with water, in spite of the continued widespread drought.

Picacho State Recreation Area

Picacho State Recreation Area
29J7+76 Picacho, CA, USA
Direction

dusk photo of Taylor Lake Marsh Taylor Lake marsh just before sunrise. View to east. © Christine Hass.

As usual, I record a number of soundscapes during our visit, placing mics at a variety of locations in hopes of capturing typical ambiences as well as significant “sound events”. All goes well and I manage to snag some great recordings, but nothing truly outstanding, at least until …

On one very calm evening, I place a mic close to the marshy edge, in a spot where I had previously noticed abundant game trails. And that’s where I strike gold with the burros. On numerous occasions through the night, individuals or pairs pass nearby and are kind enough to “say hello” (in burro-talk of course) before moving on. I doubt they are aware of my mic, but their unrestrained performances make me wonder if they have been sent by the goddess Gaia to fulfill my every desire. All I can say is “Thank you burros and thank you mother nature for sharing your glorious music so unreservedly!”

What’s more, when the first light of dawn silhouettes distant peaks in the east, a pair of coyotes suddenly sound off from nearby, one giving drawn-out musical howls and the other producing ecstatic high-pitched tremolos … what an energetic and uplifting way to usher-in the new day!

Taylor Lake marsh - day view © Lang Elliott IMG_5197Taylor Lake marsh – daytime view to north © Lang Elliott.

A Note to Readers: In listening to the recordings, you will no doubt hear a lot of water noises … splashing and churning throughout. I am not certain what or whom is doing all that, but my guess is that many of these sounds are due to fish swimming and surfacing in the marshy zone near the shoreline. Maybe I’m wrong. And perhaps some listener can provide a better explanation. Are the splashes being made by birds? Or is the marsh saturated with Raccoons, cavorting in the moonlight, up to their necks in the muck? Or, even better yet, is the Desert Sasquatch wading about in the marsh, exhausted from hunger and madly searching for frog-meals in the dark of the night?

Wild Burro © Lang ElliottWild Burro on a rocky slope in Picacho State Recreation Area north of Yuma. © Lang Elliott.

In Conclusion: I hope you enjoyed Wild Burros of Picacho (with Coyote Finale)! If you want to hear the burros, coyotes and marsh sounds for yourselves, I highly recommend a trip to Taylor Lake in the remote Picacho State Recreation Area. But do beware … the gravel road is rough and sufficient ground clearance is required. Even worse, there’s a good chance that evil forces will overwhelm you as you drive by the abandoned mine and the towering jagged peaks, sucking you into a dark and endless void, never to be heard from again. Are you really willing to take such a risk?

Darth Vader's Hideout - seen on way to Picacho State Recreation Area © Lang ElliottDarth Vader’s Hideout (seen on way to Picacho State Recreation Area). © Lang Elliott.

As always, I truly appreciate your feedback, so I encourage you to leave a comment below.

Naturally Yours,



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54 Comments
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joey corcoran
joey corcoran
1 month ago

Ha! Ha! I find the wild burros quite comical but the tremolos of the coyotes…how extraordinary! Thank you for bringing the mysteries of the natural world to our ears. It fills me with awe for all we don’t know about it. You bring that rich world a little closer to pique the imagination. I thought the water sounds besides fish sounded like animals wading through.

Rose Giallombardo
Rose Giallombardo
2 months ago

I’ve never heard anything like this before in my life!!! Thank you for letting us all open our ears to a new experience!

George Casselberry
George Casselberry
2 months ago

Wow! Is this the first time you recorded wild burros? This whole recording is incredible! I always enjoy listening to your work. I have many of your recordings in my CD collection. Thanks for all you do to help people appreciate the sounds of nature.

Lang Elliott
2 months ago

You’re welcome George!

Mary
Mary
2 months ago

I so appreciate your passion and dedication to creating such enchanting soundscapes.
You are strengthening the essential link we share with all Gaia’s creatures
Travelling via earphones with my eyes closed nourishes my imagination and soothes my soul.
Warm wishes for you in all your adventures.

Lang Elliott
2 months ago
Reply to  Mary

Mary: So glad to hear you’re enjoying my recordings!

James Abendroth
James Abendroth
2 months ago

Great sounds! Keep up the good work – we remember many years back when you were studying chipmunks in the Adirondacks. Jim and Mary Abendroth Bloomingdale, New York

Laura Crockett
2 months ago

Those burros can drive one a little nuts with their braying. However, mixed in with those other sounds, why it’s a concerto, staring that contralto with the long ears!

Have you heard of Oscars Place? They rescue burros from slaughter. It seems that burros have some sort of property in their hides that is used by traditional Chinese medicine. Burros are harvested for this medicine called, ejaoi. The link will take you to an article on Oscar’s Place. https://wordofmouthmendo.com/word-of-mouth-stories/2022/whos-rescuing-whom-summer

Keep up your wonderful, eccentric recordings.

Lyn Miller
Lyn Miller
2 months ago

Captivating recording- cool, beautiful and fascinating in equal parts, Lang. I especially appreciate your informative comments. I’ve learned new bird songs from your music of nature recordings!

judy todd
judy todd
2 months ago

Amazing…and gorgeous photos. Thanks for the ride south!

Judy Nietsche
Judy Nietsche
2 months ago

This was wonderful. I let my little Aussie terrier mix have a listen towards the end, and he was impressed as well, a little nervous. Many of the burros vocalizations sound so human, thinking especially of humans in stress situations of one sort or another. And the water throughout is such a soothing accompaniment.

AD006FC6-F916-463B-97A8-BF1DE23470A4.jpeg
mark s nupen
mark s nupen
2 months ago

I have followed your ‘stories’ for years now and this one is exceptional for its photos and sound recordings. You picked a great spot.
I can sort of except the wild burros, even though not native, but much more interesting than the ‘pet wild horses’ some have let loose on the wild countryside.
Big Thanks

Steve
Steve
2 months ago

Oh, how fantastic! Thank you.

Colin Hunter
2 months ago

Great story telling as always Lang! Really helps set the scene. I can picture the location using my imagination! Great recording too, I wasn’t aware of Wild Burros before reading and listening to this. A pleasure, as always!

Kay B.
Kay B.
2 months ago

So, so lovely an auditory image of a place I will never have the opportunity to see so thank you, Lang. I wonder if the water sounds might also include wavelets from a breeze…that’s what it mostly sounded like to me having grown up around water.

lori
lori
2 months ago

Lang, you can imagine my delight at listening to your recordings. the sounds of squirrels chattering is enjoyment for me. LOL

Debbie
Debbie
2 months ago

I really enjoyed this soundtrack. What a unique place. Beautiful photos. The Darth Vader hide out is definitely ominous looking. The wild burros sound very different , less abrasive, than the Jerusalem donkeys at the horse rescue where I volunteered. The splashing water sounds tied all of the nature sounds together is a very peaceful, cohesive way.

Rebecca Leas
Rebecca Leas
2 months ago

Hi Lang! I was so thrilled to see you back online! These night sounds put a big smile on my face as I was making this morning’s coffee. I enjoy listening to your recordings so very much and they give peace to a very high stress time here in SW Florida. Thank you!!

Rainsong20
Rainsong20
2 months ago

The sound of the wild burros
lined with the hauling of coyotes…so unique….how much better can it get!
A sound combination hardly ever recorded.

Rainsong20
Rainsong20
2 months ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

No, this is not Lisa! However, I have been a long time listener of your nature sounds!

Herbst Mond
Herbst Mond
2 months ago

The calls of the burros mixed with all the other nature sounds makes for a unique symphony. Never heard quite an animal chorus like the burros. I really love the coyote howls and barks at the end, just so beautiful.

Last edited 2 months ago by Herbst Mond
Dan Evans
2 months ago

Hi Lang, beautiful recording, as always, you really capture a sense of space, so much depth, so immersive!

Dan Evans
Dan Evans
2 months ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

they sure do! The coyote’s vocalizations sounded reminded me of whale song at points… is it just me?

Lang Elliott
2 months ago
Reply to  Dan Evans

No, I can also hear those similarities.

Gail Shapiro
Gail Shapiro
2 months ago

Thank you for sharing again! Love the Burros and I have to say I’ve never heard Coyotes so clear! Must be the great equipment! It’s all impressive. I will bypass Darth’s hideout during my lifetime!

Fran
Fran
2 months ago

This was incredible! Thank you Lang!

Lang Elliott
2 months ago
Reply to  Fran

You’re welcome Fran!

Teria
Teria
2 months ago

What a cool ‘donkey duet’ ! (Never heard one before….)
Thank you Lang 🙂

Lang Elliott
2 months ago
Reply to  Teria

Teria! Long time no talky to!

Eliza
Eliza
2 months ago

Wonderful soundscape, Lang. Loved the coyotes (a nice background to the near-full moon rising outside my window right now)! Maybe the splashing was muskrats?

Lang Elliott
2 months ago
Reply to  Eliza

That would be one heck-of-a-lot of muskrats. I still think mostly fish.

Linda
Linda
2 months ago

Thoroughly enjoyed hearing this. My brother used to have bullfrogs singing as his phone message on his answering machine. (Invasive in Colorado, huh?)

Carlene
Carlene
2 months ago

This is a wonderful recording. There was an amazing amount of sounds and activity that night.

Lang Elliott
2 months ago
Reply to  Carlene

No kidding … constant activity to be sure!

Bob
Bob
2 months ago

Absolutely spectacular, Lang, a lovely piece of nature recording. I’m going to second your explanation of the constant hydrophonic sounds as fishes splashing in the shallows as both avian and mammalian predators rely upon stealth, and there is nothing stealthy about those sounds. The distant horned owls duetting and then the finale of the coyotes completes nature’s masterpiece. Thank you for capturing and sharing with us. The nerve-wracking drive was worth it.

Christine C Hass
2 months ago

Such a memorable trip! I vote fish on the splashing. Far too delicate to be Desert Sasquatch. I had misid’ed the rail as a Ridgway’s; thank you for the correction.

Lang Elliott
2 months ago

Actually, you might be correct in that it’s a Ridgway’s. Let’s both check on that. I’m busy for about an hour, but will get to it after that.

Christine C Hass
2 months ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

Wow these are tough to tell apart. eBird shows no sightings of King Rail west of the rockies.

Lang Elliott
2 months ago

Yes, they are either Ridgways or Clapper.

Dr. Steven Shepard
2 months ago

Lang, there are no words, other than thank you.

Paula
Paula
2 months ago

I just loved this!! Rarely do I have the patience to sit and listen to something for 8+ minutes, but the water splashing in between the burros braying and the coyotes ending it — just wonderful…made me feel like I was there. Thanks so much for all your wonderful and inspired recordings!

Marie
Marie
2 months ago

This certainly transported me to an entirely different environment from the Mid-Atlantic where I live! thank you!

Ted Zook
2 months ago

What an absolutely wonderful recording!

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