Carolina Wren – Alarm Calls

We have a pair of Carolina Wrens nesting in a gutter next to our porch overhang. Quite often, the male sits on the nearby limb of an oak and sings his heart out. So today I decided to videotape his singing performance. I set up my tripod and camera and within a minute or two he showed up, giving one song from a very nice-looking perch, and then … [Read more...]

Nature Cinépoetry as Art

With today’s release of Buggin’ Fun as a NatureWatch video vignette, I hereby leap into the realm of nature-oriented “Cinépoetry." This is an art form where poetry is combined with cinematography and sound in order to produce a unified multimedia composition. I hope you like my first experiment (please let me know what you think by commenting … [Read more...]

Bittern at Munuscong

Munuscong Potholes is a tiny sparkling gem at the eastern edge of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I discovered it this spring while searching for Le Conte's Sparrow to record. It is only some 30 acres of wet sedge meadow surrounding a couple of small, cattail-lined ponds. The soundscape was populated by Red-winged Blackbirds, Sandhill Cranes, several … [Read more...]

Sun Mallow

Early one morning not long ago, while videotaping dew on Musk Mallow (Malva moschata) petals, I noticed sun reflections from a small trickling brook in the background. With great care, I positioned my camcorder in order to capture the miraculous play of light as it interacted with the flower. I am quite pleased with the result, which combines my … [Read more...]

Baird’s Sparrow — A Vanishing Jewel

Imagine my excitement. I have been looking for Baird's Sparrows for several years, it will be a life bird for me. However, every field that I have explored within this species range has been empty of this gorgeous little sparrow. My dear friend, Julie Zickefoose, was leading a birding trip in North Dakota — maybe she has found this elusive prairie … [Read more...]

Finding My Way Home

Before launching into a somewhat heady blog post about my two-month absence from, here is a little tidbit, an ambient nature recording I made a few days ago in nearby Shindagin Hollow. Blue Jay, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Red-eyed Vireo, American Crow, Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush, Veery, Rose-breasted … [Read more...]

Sorting Out the Singers at the Pond

And that brings us to a third species heard in the recording – the Eastern Meadowlark - a species you might not associate with a pond. They’re here because of the large meadow areas that adjoin this pond. Meadowlarks are fairly large and quite striking, but it’s amazing how well they disappear into the color and texture of the meadow. Like many … [Read more...]

Invitation to a Concert at the Pond

Greetings, everyone! Lisa Rainsong here. I’m a professional musician who is also a naturalist. When I’m not in the classroom teaching music theory or performing onstage as a professional singer, I’m probably out in the field recording the songs of birds, crickets, katydids, amphibians, and anything else that “sings.” When Lang invited me … [Read more...]

Red Fox Screams

Here's a really amazing recording! This morning at 5:15am, as I walked out on my front door on my way to my car, a nearby Red Fox (I think) suddenly began giving loud barking screams, set against the dawn chorus. I was so very lucky to get this documented. My recorder was in my car, so I had to scurry to my car, hook up my parabolic mike, and … [Read more...]

The Miracle of Birdsong

Dawn chorus featuring American Robin, Willow Flycatcher, Song Sparrow, and Red-winged Blackbird. Recorded June 28, 2012 Canaan Valley NWR, West Virginia. ©Wil Hershberger. As May waxes on, the woodlands, fields, and thickets seemingly explode with the songs of birds. From the relative quiet of winter, the presence of all these songs is a retreat … [Read more...]

An Orgy of Toads

The breeding season of frogs and toads is upon us, with one species after the other kicking into action as spring unfolds. American Toads will soon be calling, their sweet, dreamy trills blanketing the landscape both day and night. Last year about this time, I came across a frenzy of mating toads, partaking in a phenomenal orgy of activity … [Read more...]

Woolly Worm Walk

Frabjous Day ... spring is finally bursting forth with a few days in the 70s and things are beginning to rock. High points yesterday included my first sightings of Woolly Worms (Woolly Bears) walkin' along with an excited gait. I managed to videotape one and I even wrote a little poem to suit: The Woolly Worm, Pyrrharctia isabella, is one of … [Read more...]

The Woodies Have Begun!

Last night I found my first active group of Wood Frogs, the males cackling excitedly from a small pond in a nearby wildlife management area. What's more, females were laying eggs like crazy and I managed to get some decent video footage of the process: Just in case you're wondering, the entire sound track is contrived, built from other … [Read more...]

Salamander Poetics & Frustrations

In this two-parted blog post, I make an attempt to capture the poetic aspect of tuning-in to the salamander migration, and then follow that with an essay conveying my frustration at being unable to get great video footage, and the impact of that frustration on keeping the dream alive: POETICS: Sometimes it is easy to kiss the earth, … [Read more...]

Salamander Night – April 4-5, 2014

Last night, I was delighted to witness a fairly large-scale movement of Spotted Salamanders, mostly occurring in the wee hours of the morning. It's April 5 here in upstate New York. Most years, the spotties would be done by now. After dark, I met up with my friend Bill Wallauer and we checked out several locations near Syracuse, N.Y. One high … [Read more...]

Singing Robin Success!

I have been planning to put together a NatureWatch profile featuring the American Robin, but I've been missing some really good singing sequences. So on this clear-sky early April morning, I set out to remedy the situation ... and what good luck I had! I arrived at the "Cornell Plantations Arboretum" area promptly at 7am, just before the sun … [Read more...]