Spring Pond Bog

Located not far from Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks, the expansive Spring Pond Bog Preserve (owned by the Nature Conservancy) is a popular destination of birders and other nature lovers.

photo of Spring Pond Bog by Ed McNeil & Jerry Jenkins

In early June of 2000, I visited the bog several times to record Swainson’s and Hermit Thrushes singing together among the spruce and tamarack. I had great luck with the thrushes, but my prize recording turned out to be a lovely mixed-species dawn chorus, recorded at bog’s edge. The main singers are White-throated Sparrow, Hermit Thrush, and Swainson’s Thrush. A Lincoln’s Sparrow also sings at times and one can hear the staccato chelek! of a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher in the background:

Dawn chorus at Spring Pond Bog, 4:30am, 12 June 2000, near Tupper Lake, New York. Recorded by Lang Elliott.

To my ear, this is an utterly magical mix of sounds. Compared to the Trap Pond soundscape (previous blog entry), which included sounds over a very wide frequency range, all the bird songs in this recording are clustered and overlapping in the 1500-5000 Hz range. The effect is stunning—living bells ringing, fluting, essentially glittering—like stardust falling upon the bog. I close my eyes and see bog sprites dancing among spruces and tamaracks, welcoming the light, welcoming the day.

Does everyone like this recording? I’ve massaged it quite a bit to knock back one very intrusive White-throated Sparrow and a Hermit Thrush that wandered too close to the mike. I’m pretty pleased with the result. Note that the full-length version, which is nearly ten minutes long, will most likely be featured in a collection of northern soundscapes, to be published in a couple of months.

photo of Lang ElliottCiao!


  1. I hear White-Throated Sparrows, Hermit Thrushes, Yellow-Bellied Flycatchers, Swainson’s Thrushes, and Robins. I’m not sure which bird sound the Lincoln’s Sparrow is. Beautiful recording. You’re the dawn chorus-recording master Lang.

    • I’m not sure when I’m going to launch the soundscape series. Possibly in mid-March, just before field season. More likely, in mid-summer, right after my spring and early summer travels.

  2. It certainly IS a magical recording. By way of constructive comment, I would like to see the White-throated Sparrow reduced in volume. I fine that the intensity of its pure tones overpower the Lincoln’s and the thrushes.


    • Thanks Bob. I guess I’ll go in and lower that one White-throated Sparrow again. I already knocked him back considerably, throughout the entire recording. But I can certainly pull it down even farther. Do the other, more distant, white-throats get to you, or only the loudest one? And is it just his introductory note, or the triplets that follow as well. On the spectrogram, I could see that his intro note was much louder than the rest of his song.

  3. What a lovely description of this recording. I can just imagine them dancing in the bog as I listen. It’s fun listening for the yellow-bellied flycatcher in the background.
    This is a priceless recording that is very peaceful and amazing to listen to.

  4. Magical is exactly right! These are some of my absolute favorite sounds. I have to go far away to hear them. Thank you, Lang.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.