In 2002, I visited the Peruvian Amazon with my friend Ted Mack. We went there as part of a herpetology/ornithology tour sponsored by Margarita Tours. We flew into Iquitos and then went downriver to three refuges that are part of Project Amazonas, a very exciting non-profit medical, educational, and research effort.
The jungle soundscape literally blew me away. I’ve never heard such combinations of sounds. There is nothing in North America that is anything like it. The following recording is from the Madre Selva Biological Station:
A jungle soundscape recorded in early January of 2002 at the Madre Selva Biological Station about a day downriver from Iquitos, Peru. Recorded by Lang Elliott.
I consider this pure magic, an absolutely amazing and haunting soundscape by any standard. At the bottom of the frequency scale we hear the repeated wop! calls of jungle frogs, Leptodactylus pentodactylus (I think). A bird gives musical whistles every thirty seconds or so; I believe it is a tinamou. HIgher up cicadas periodically sound off with buzzy yet musical tones. About two-thirds through, several toucans call raucously in the distance. Higher yet is a diverse insect chorus. Throughout, one hears the snaps and pops of water drops and the like falling to the ground from the towering canopy—a signature sound of jungles everywhere.
Quite unbelievable, huh?
My Amazon soundscapes have gotten me excited. Initially, I envisioned my forthcoming “Soundscape Series” products to be focused entirely on North American habitats and species. But listening to my material (and Ted’s recordings) from the Amazon has changed my mind. I’m so enthused that each year I plan to go an expedition to some faraway place (Australia next autumn!) so as to get material for additional titles. The Amazon soundscapes will comprise my first such title, which I believe I’m going to call Amazon Dreams. Imagine going to sleep to this!