Pond at Dusk

photo of landscape 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 Dusk,” features frogs, insects, and birds sounding off in a small reed-edged pond in farm country not far from Newcastle, Australia:

The following is a “sonogram” (time versus frequency diagram) showing a small section of the above recording (click to enlarge it). I’ve labeled a number of the “instruments” – see if you can differentiate them while listening to the recording.

Pond at Dusk Sonogram

Below are descriptions of the main players contributing to the concert:

1. Birds – At least two birds can be heard. An Australian Reed Warbler periodically gives brief snippets of song (musical notes or trills). Listen also for low-pitched wheezy grunts of two individuals of an unknown species … perhaps some kind of crake or possibly bittern (does anybody out there know?). At times, I hear the very distant calls of a Southern Boobook Owl. Other distant bird sounds can also be heard.

2. Insects – Insects chime-in prominently at three different frequencies. Note the continuous trilling of tree crickets fairly low down, around 1500 Hz. Higher up, at around 6000 Hz, one can hear the short trills of crickets. And then very high up, around 10,000 Hz and higher, there is the continuous rustling or shuffling buzz of what must be meadow katydids (also called longhorned grasshoppers). The buzz of mosquitoes can also be heard periodically.

3. Frogs – Several species of frogs can be heard. Listen for the slowly-repeated sharp puck! calls of a Striped Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes peroni). Higher up, one can hear the rising, creeking trills of the Eastern Dwarf Treefrog (Litoria fallax). And especially toward the end of the recording, the cackling of Maniacal Cackle Frogs (Litoria peroni) becomes quite obvious.

So whatya think? Does this recording qualify for easy listening? I find the balance of elements to be reasonably good, with sounds nicely-spread over a broad frequency range. Ignoring the occasional loud outbursts of birds, no one sound dominates or wrenches the ear. I’m rather pleased.


  1. I hear the distant Boobook. I like the way the frogs sound. Did you get any videos of frogs while here? Pictures? I’m just curious. I would agree that the unknown grunter is some sort of crake or maybe a bittern.

  2. Wow. Love this. Was this all recorded at the same time or did you layer different tracks? Super enjoyable to listen to.

  3. Amazing recording! It’s weird to think here in Michigan, that it is spring in Australia. I do hear the distant Southern Boobook Owl, and I do hear the Australian Reed Warbler. The unknown grunter, I’ve no idea what it is. I hear all of the frogs mentioned. Have you actually seen any frogs lately? I’m just curious.

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