Memories of Spring (Pilliga Goodnight)

It is the tenth of November, at dusk, and I am gazing at a picturesque bend in the Missouri River. The sky is pink and autumn leaves still cling to oaks on the hillside. Winter is almost upon us here in North America, yet I am immersed in fresh memories of spring from a faraway land. We have returned from our Australian expedition, arriving … [Read more...]

Grey Butcherbird Duets

During my last morning of recording in Australia, I managed to snag a real jewel … the musical song-duetting of a pair of Grey Butcherbirds. What a surprising and delightful "grand finale" to my adventure Down Under: Song duets of a pair of Grey Butcherbirds. Recorded at sunrise on 6 November 2012 in Karuah National Park, north of Newcastle, … [Read more...]

Magpie Composition

A true signature sound of Australia is the gurgling, bubbling melody of the Australian Magpie, a large black-and-white butcherbird of open country as well as forest edges and clearings. During our recent trip to New England National Park, I was very fortunate to record the contagious singing of a group, in farm country just outside the … [Read more...]

Off to New England

We're off to New England … New England National Park that is … where we will be participating in a survey for breeding frogs (see below for map showing park's whereabouts in relation to Newcastle). My personal goal while there is to record the deep croaking of the rare Sphagnum Frog (Philoria sphagnicolus) that lives in high altitude beech … [Read more...]

Pond at Dusk

Farmland pond at dusk featuring the sounds of insects, frogs, and birds. Photo © Lang Elliott, 19 October 2012, around 8pm, near Congewai, New South Wales, Australia. I love nature's mysterious voices of the night, and Australia provides a fabulous potpourri nearly everywhere, especially where there is water. The following recording, "Pond at … [Read more...]

Song of the Reeds

Yesterday evening, I sat quietly next to a marshy pond full of reeds. It was dead-calm and the marsh came alive with sound as darkness descended: Soundscape from a reedy pond featuring an Australian Reed Warbler. Recorded at dusk 19 October 2012 along the western edge of the Watagan Mountains near Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. © … [Read more...]

Forest Bells

When I first heard them … bell-like tink calls coming from all around me in the dense understory of the eucalyptus forest at dusk, I thought I was hearing frogs, "Bell Frogs" was my guess. But when I described my experience to Carl later in the evening, he told me with considerable authority that the calls weren't from frogs, but rather were from … [Read more...]

Peaceful Doves

The world over, members of the dove and pigeon family (Columbidae, with over 300 species) produce musical coos that fall in the mid to low frequency range, adding a pleasant bottom end to natural soundscapes that otherwise might be too shrill for the average listener. Australia is the home of 18 species and I've been busy gathering sound … [Read more...]

The Silly-Sounding Goofbird

Australia is full of surprises sound-wise, not only yielding an abundance of beautiful and musical bird songs, but also laughable songs that border on the improbable, ridiculous, or absurd. Of all the sound delights that have come my way thus far during my journey Down Under, the silly chatterings and tootings of a group of Noisy Friarbirds are … [Read more...]

More Possum Hollers

Here in Australia's wilds, I seem to be a possum magnet. On a pristine-calm night in the Timmallallie National Park near Baradine, New South Wales, two different possums greeted, or rather threatened, me with growls and barks as they stumbled upon my camp in the dark of the night. My first visitor appeared around 2am ... a Brushtail Possum … [Read more...]