Listen to this amazing new recording from Vladimir Arkhipov of a wolf spider drumming in Russia – http://www.naturesoundmap.com/listing/drumming-wolf-spider/
We’re now up to a total of 400 recordings from 81 countries & 93 contributors – put some headphones on and enjoy!
Several new recordings have been added to Nature Soundmap over the past week – the total is now up to 376 recordings from 81 countries!
A special thanks to Fintan O’Brien for submitting multiple high-quality recordings from Ireland, Belize, Costa Rica, Finland and Estonia.
Some of this weeks highlights include:
- Dawn in Ballyfad Wood, Ireland
- Thrush Nightingale at night in Estonia
- Song of the Blyth’s Reed Warbler in Estonia
- Song of the European Robin in Finland
- Pre-dawn Ambience in the Costa Rican rainforest
- Gannets on The Great Saltee in Ireland
- Midwife Toads calling at night in Belgium
- Clay-colored Robin singing in Guatemala
Put some headphones on and enjoy!
In case you haven’t checked in a while, a number of new recordings have been added to Nature Soundmap – in fact, the total is up to 376 recordings from 81 countries!
Some highlights from the past couple of months include:
- The sound of a Kangaroo jumping in Victoria, Australia
- Wolf pups howling in Sweden
- Alligators ‘purring’ in Okefenokee Swamp, USA
- Thailand’s tropical rainforest
- Beskidy mountains soundscape in Poland
Put some headphones on and enjoy!
Scientists played sonar to a group of hunting Cuvier’s beaked whales which had been tagged. In response to the sounds, the whales quickly stopped hunting and “swam rapidly, silently away”.
Regarding Blue Whales, the researchers found “…one animal was diving and feeding repeatedly all throughout the day, and as soon as the sound started, the animal stopped feeding and maintained a directed heading and moved away from the sound source.
These vast animals can scoop up half a million calories worth of krill in one gulp as they dive, so disturbing their feeding deprives them of large amounts of energy…”
by Andrew Skeoch & Sarah Koschak from Listening Earth
At 4 a.m., It felt like we were driving across the surface of the moon. Overhead the stars shone; hard diamonds in an inky sky. The ground over which we drove was a featureless plain of baked, grey earth – the Rann of Kutch.
This unique lowland area in the northwest of India lies between the southern edge of the Thar desert and the Arabian Sea. With each monsoon, floodwaters flowing south get backed up here, creating a vast lake often less than a metre deep on which local villagers go fishing. In the dry season it becomes the moonscape we were now traversing. Even in the driest months, the Rann has RAMSAR-listed perenial wetlands, a refuge for huge numbers of waterfowl. Also dotted amongst this remote vastness were isolated ‘islands’ of thornscrub, known as phets, and it was to one of these that we were being driven in the predawn.
Our dilapidated Land Rover – with no windshield or doors, atrophied suspension and a top of speed of 30kph – felt like one of NASA’s Apollo moon rover buggies. Micro-fine dust was being kicked up by our wheels, and settled over everything, eerily flowing almost like liquid.
Beside me, our local driver Mahboob, his head completely swaddled in a shawl against the night chill, reminded me of some desert alien from a Star Wars or Dune film. In the days he had driven us around the Rann, despite little language in common, we had grown to enjoy his quiet, good spirits and easy smile. How he navigated unerringly around this featureless region was an utter mystery.
But now my faith in his uncanny ability was faltering. When we had set off, the setting stars of Orion had hung over our bonnet as we headed west. During the past five minutes they had drifted slowly to our left side, and were now almost behind us. A few minutes later they were over my right shoulder. We were going in a huge circle.
I looked over at Sarah huddled in the back, a pulled a face. Mahboob looked aglance at me, smiled broadly and wiggled one hand in the air. Yep, we were lost.
During the previous few days, we had been based at the Desert Coursers Lodge at Zainabad on the edge of the Rann, and Mahboob had driven us out each morning and afternoon to likely recording locations.
At first sight, the barren Raan didn’t look like a promising place to be recording nature sounds. Even Sarah was finding the empty landscape a challenge to photograph. It had atmosphere, no doubt about that, but at first we were wondering whether we would get any worthwhile recordings at all.
On the first morning, our doubts were swept away. Mahboob rolled the old Landie to a halt at the edge of some low bushes, and indicated that we should walk on. Pushing through them, we found ourselves on the shoreline of a broad, expansive wetland. Before us, mirror-still waters were covered with the graceful pink and white forms of hundreds of Lesser Flamingos. It was such an unexpected scene in this barren landscape, that Sarah and I found ourselves in a state of childlike wonder. It was a sight we had never anticipated to see. Ducks, pelicans, stilts and cranes were also out on the waters, silently feeding in this surreal place.
Later that morning, we came across a small herd of Wild Ass, or Onager, Equus hemionus. Found only in the Rann, loose family groups of these rare animals subsist on the sparse grasslands. They have a habit of hanging their heads over each other’s neck, which is quite endearing.
That afternoon we identified a promising recording location. Exploring one of the thornscrub phets, we found it to be a haven for small birds; babblers, prinias, silverbills, bee-eaters, coucals, doves and bulbuls were prolific.
Just on sunset, groups of Grey Francolins, Francolinus pondicerianus, began calling, their cackling calls echoing across the landscape, revealing them to be a much more numerous than sightings alone suggested.
So for the next few mornings we recorded among the thornscrub, and encountered some of their more secretive inhabitants. We were surprised to find Nilgai and other deer in such desolate surroundings.
Stone Curlews and Short-eared Owls were seen at dusk, and occasionally we’d come across small groups of Common Cranes, Grus grus, shyly feeding among the scrub or flying overhead in stately formation on lazy wingbeats.
The Rann was slowly revealing its wonders to us.
With the first pale light of dawn arriving in the east, we were still lost on the Rann. Just as I was beginning to think we would miss a recording of the dawn chorus, a line of short grass appeared in the headlights, and beyond that ‘beachline’, a wall of low thornscrub. By good fortune, we’d found a phet, although probably not the one we’d intended. Relieved, I bundled out with my recording gear, and made my way into the scrub.
That last morning yielded a very good recording, with flocks of tiny Silverbills, Lonchura malabarica, winging overhead, and a diversity of delicate birdsong drifting over the landscape. The ringing of cowbells and occasional yell of a cattle herder in the distance added a human touch to the ambience.
Returning, something caught my eye on the ground. A pattern in the now-dried mud had been made by a large animal (deer or cow maybe) urinating. It was utterly unique and distinctive. But the extraordinary thing was that I had noticed this exact mark yesterday. Looking around, I recognised the patterns of scrub – it was precisely the same location that I had been on previous mornings. Mahboob’s navigational abilities were indeed redeemed!
Back at the Landie, Sarah showed me some of the atmospheric dawn landscapes she’d photographed, and we prepared to set off.
Mahboob fired up the engine but it promptly died. He leaned down and held up the accelerator peddle; sheared off completely. Despite everything, there was something amusing about our predicament. Mahboob wobbled his head and ‘tut, tutted’ to himself. Whilst not being alarmed, we were curious how we were going to get ourselves out of this one.
Mahboob rummaged around under the seat and emerged with… a used fan belt. Great, very useful… More rummaging, this time under the bonnet. A few minutes later, he’d tied the fan belt to the throttle cable and fed it back into the cab through a gap in the chasis under the steering wheel. He turned over the engine again, pulling on the fan belt to rev the motor happily. Big grins all round – the man was truly amazing!
Our album ‘The Great Rann‘ presents nature sounds from this unique part of the world.
Track 1 was made in the darkness of pre-dawn on the edge of one of the Rann’s wetlands. Waterfowl including stilts, ducks, teal, cranes and flamingos are heard calling quietly in the darkness. From the wetlands, we move on to the thornscrub phets, beginning with a dawn chorus of francolins, and progressing through that lovely morning of drifting birdsong. Towards the end a group of Common Cranes call as they fly leisurely overhead (track 3). Finally, on track 4 you will hear the dusk calls of francolins merge into a cricket chorus of nightfall.
This nature sound album ‘The Great Rann‘ is available on CD or by direct digital download from the Listening Earth website: www.listeningearth.com
The last four weeks have been slower than usual on Nature Soundmap, mainly due to a programming hurdle which I’ve been working hard to ‘jump over’*. (see footnote).
Because of this, I’ve been hesitant to invest too much time into adding new content & implementing new ideas until we find a solution. Thankfully a kind web developer has offered to help me out and it is likely the problem will be resolved in the coming few weeks.
Now with this little burden off my shoulders, we’re ready to launch a new ongoing feature of Nature Soundmap – publishing regular articles contributed by our recordists. I’m sure you’d agree that we have a rather eclectic bunch of contributors, and for this reason we decided to draw on some of this wide-ranging experience and share the stories and insights / nature sound recording.
Articles will cover a wide ranges of subjects & include:
- Stories from the field
- Technical notes & equipment reviews
- The science of bioacoustics
- Species profiles
- Nature sounds & health
If you’d like to stay up to date with the articles, simply subscribe to the blog via email using the ‘Subscribe via Email’ form in the sidebar of this page, and you’ll receive notifications when new content is published.
Our first contributed article is from Christine Hass entitled “Sonic Memories“, a discussion of how sounds have the ability to take us back to places we’ve been in the past.
* Currently, the way the homepage loads is not ideal – it pre-loads all 300+ listings as well as every image associated with each recording, making the homepage load time slow. I’ve explored a number of solutions to this issue, but ultimately I am out of my depth when it comes to this type of programming & it’s a job for a ‘real’ web developer!