We arrived safely in Puerto Rico on Thursday afternoon and made our way without incident to the Casa Cabuy Ecolodge on the south edge of El Yunque National Forest. Quite a beautiful location, but we were disappointed to find that loud stream noise permeated the entire area … without doubt, we will have to hike into the high country to find a good spot for recording.
Common Coqui chorus featuring a close individual, recorded around 2 am in the cool of the night. 22 March, 2013. El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico. Copyright Lang Elliott, All Rights Reserved.
At nightfall, the coquis (the Common Coqui and several related species) began singing in earnest. Excited at the prospects, we grabbed our gear and hiked up a road that quickly transitioned into a wet trail through forest, grassy clearings and muddy spots. The road used to go all the way to the top of the mountain, but a large landslide about halfway up destroyed it many years ago.
After an hour or two of hiking, we came upon the landslide. Bob was having trouble with new boots causing blisters, so he decided to stay put. I forged (blundered?) ahead, following the trail up and beyond, and by midnight I had pulled away from the valley stream noise and I no longer could hear the distant sounds of motorcycles and cars from inhabited areas far below.
Lang chatting about his coqui experience. Early am, 22 March, 2013. El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico. Copyright Lang Elliott, All Rights Reserved.
In the wee hours of morning, I enjoyed a pristine nighttime rainforest experience. The frog and insect chorus mellowed with cooling temperatures, and I spent several hours looking for pleasing mixtures of sounds that would convey the magic that I heard and felt. Periodically, I would lay down on the trail, shut my eyes, and listen, mesmerized and entranced by the beautiful, dreamy chorus. What an incredible night it was, among the most poignant of my recording adventures.
Several coqui frogs interacting vocally to produce a magical auditory effect. Early am, 22 March, 2013. El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico. Copyright Lang Elliott, All Rights Reserved.