Cumberland Island:
Squirrel Tree Frog, Cicada, and Vireo

Cumberland Island National Seashore, sunset on inland waterway

Cumberland Island, inland side
Photo by Tom Campbell

Cumberland Island National Seashore, off the Georgia coast just north of Florida, is home to many flourishing species of insects, birds mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. On this track we hear a few of them, most distinctly a squirrel tree frog, a cicada, and — starting around the 1:55 mark — a white-eyed vireo.

Play 1. Marsh Sounds

 

I think of the white-eyed vireo as “the R2D2 bird,” because some of their calls sound like the the lovable Star Wars robot’s crazy beeps and whirring sounds.

This recording is an oldie but goodie, made in 2001. I carefully edited out the sounds of airplanes, boats, and motorized land vehicles so you get a sense of the place without those intrusions. Most of my nature recordings end with the sounds of internal combustion engines and me cursing. Maybe some day there will be one square inch of silence on Cumberland Island.


Space Piano No. 1

For this track I just played a few chords on an upright piano while the RJDJ Start scene was running on my iPhone. (Note: RJDJ is sadly now defunct, but it was a super fun audio toy while it lasted.)

      1. Space Piano No. 1

Recording Notes: iPhone, RJDJ with Start scene

Backyard Hummingbirds

Rufous Hummingbird at Feeder

 Photo by James Hawkins, publicdomainpictures.net

A few years ago, I was at my parents’ house in Alabama and decided to try recording the hummingbirds that frequented their patio feeder. I clipped a pair of binaural electret microphones to the bottom of the plastic feeder, pressed the “Record” button on my minidisc recorder, and went in the house for about a half hour.

When I listened to the recordings later, I was astounded. The rapid beating of the hummingbirds’ wings sounded like quick bursts of airplane propeller noise.

Note that in the last sample, the recording ends with the sounds of two male hummingbirds fighting. They’re pretty but violent little buggers.

Recording Notes: Minidisc recorder, clip-on binaural electret mics

Hammering and Blue Jays

Recorded with RJDJ using the Echolon scene, near a house construction site. A few guys were hammering on the roof, and the blue jays added to the mix on a warm spring day. Thanks to RJDJ and Echolon, there’s an echoplex effect.

      1. Hammering and Blue Jays

Recording Notes: iPhone, RJDJ with Echolon scene

Wave Organ – SF Wonder

At the end of a little spit on the north shore of San Francisco, near the Exploratorium science museum, awaits one of the most wondrous audio experiences I’ve ever encountered: the Wave Organ. I had a chance to record some of its delightful, odd sounds there a few years ago.


Play 1. Wave Organ

 
 

If you’re planning a visit, keep in mind the Wave Organ is best experienced at high tide.Recording Notes: MicroTrack II CF recorder, stereo T-microphone

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