Frogs and Toads can be a challenge to record. The problem is one of balance. If several species are involved, it is important that their sounds do not compete too much with one another, thereby turning the soundscape into a cacophonous “mush.” It is also important that calling individuals not be too close to the microphone; otherwise their calls may be too loud and overwhelming, especially if many individuals are involved. Loud calls might be okay for a brief recording designed to be used in an identification guide, but they are not okay if one desires a soundscape that the listener will enjoy for minutes on end.
Consider the following “frogscape” recording that I made in the summer of 1997 at a favorite location near Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York:
A mixed-species frog chorus recorded at 10pm on 22 June 1997 in the Adirondack Mountains not far from Paul Smiths, New York. Recorded by Lang Elliott.
This is a fairly dense recording (meaning there’s lots going on). The sounds of four species are clearly heard. The most prominent singers are the Gray Treefrogs (pictured above); listen for their brief melodic trills. Spring Peepers provide the high end, their shimmering peeps adding sparkle to the recording. In addition, Green Frogs give staccato gunk! calls throughout, and a Bullfrog sounds off occasionally with his rum … rum … rum … rum …
Do you like the balance here? I remember being very careful with microphone placement. The biggest challenge was getting some distance from the Spring Peepers, while at the same maintaining good levels of the other species. I think the result is pretty decent. The Gray Treefrogs are not at all overwhelming. The only thing I am tempted to do is lower the Spring Peepers a bit.
What’ya think? Should I fiddle with this recording, or just leave it as it is?