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...]

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...]

Queensland Night Singers

We flew into Cairns in Queensland a week ago and I hit the ground running. I've spent nearly every "day" recording in the wee hours of the night as well as pre-dawn and dawn, either in the Kuranda National Park just northwest of Cairns or else in Daintree National Park farther to the north. Sleep has been sporadic at best, mostly me laying … [Read more...]

Screeches in the Night

The first leg of my Australia trip involved driving from my hometown of Ithaca, New York to Columbia, Missouri, where Carl Gerhardt, my co-traveler lives. His home is on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River. I arrived yesterday evening and immediately noticed that it was dead-calm. So when darkness fell I walked the ridge trail to a small … [Read more...]

Gentle Wills

I've told this story time and again. I search through my collection of soundscape recordings that feature particular species and I am disappointed to find that most of the time I got too close, the recordings overpowering the average listener who prefers gentle soundscapes over striking closeups. Such is the case with the Whip-poor-will. I've … [Read more...]

Peents and Booms

I love listening to nightjars of all types, their strange calls being among my favorite voices of the night. Who is not moved by the musical whistles of Whip-poor-wills, Chuck-will's-widows, and Poorwills, the buzzy peents of Common Nighthawks, the toadlike trills of Lesser Nighthawks, and the nasal purr-weers of Common Parauques? One of my … [Read more...]

Hoots and Snorts

Lots of folks say that owls fly so silently that their prey cannot hear them coming. Well, this may be true when they're hunting, but on a quiet night, when an owl flies to a perch nearby, one can certainly hear the sounds of its wings. The date is May 1, 1993. I am at Delta Marsh along the south shore of Lake Manitoba. It is the middle of the … [Read more...]

Thousand Dollar Croaks

What's a ribbit, peep, or croak worth? For the sake of my sanity, I wouldn't dare calculate the amount of money I've spent over twenty-five years, chasing after myriad frogs and toads, documenting their calls. But there is one rather unusual frog that I will account for here, a remarkable amphibian that eluded me for years—the timid Crawfish Frog, … [Read more...]

Lost Maples Moonlight Serenade

In early April of 2001, I visited Lost Maples State Natural Area in central Texas in search of Barking Frogs (Craugastor augusti), a unusual subtropical, land-breeding species found in dry, rocky regions from Texas to Arizona. My adventure began not long after dark, as I hiked a trail that led up a valley next to a stream. I was thrilled to … [Read more...]

Long Pine Predawn

Several years ago, my friend Beth and I visited the Everglades National Park in late May in hopes of videotaping frogs and toads. Unfortunately, it never rained and there was virtually no amphibian activity. So we spent most of time sound recording. One of my favorite soundscapes from our trip is a predawn recording made at Long Pine Key … [Read more...]