Tagged: minidisc

The Singing Well

A few years ago, in Highlands, NC, near a beautiful spot called Cliffside Lake, I had the pleasure of discovering a hand-pumped well that made a singing sound. There was a little iron pipe coming up out of the ground with a handle. I decided to record the sound of the well as I pumped.

After the first pump, the pipe spat out a little gush of water, and then to my astonishment, as the column of water receded back down the pipe into the ground, I heard an eerie, ascending tone — kind of like a whistle, a hum, and a ghostly moan all at the same time. I wanted more. With each pump there was another spurt of water followed by wonderful “singing” sounds from the well.

Play 1. Singing Well (Discovery)

Play 2. Singing Well (More)

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.


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
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