Winter Ambiences in Vermont

I’ve been waiting to record winter ambiences in the New York area all season, but winter never really showed up this year. In response, I set out on a six hour drive to Vermont this February searching for some semblance of winter. Fortunately, Mother Nature cooperated, and graced me with 2 days of winter to record ambiences, as well as some other unexpected treasures.

These Ravens are among my favorites moments from that weekend:

And when I returned from my trip and was sifting through my recordings, I didn’t quite know that this little bugger was:

Thanks to the help of Martyn Stewart I later found out it was a Red Squirrel which are often found in Vermont, and not it Brooklyn, NY where I live.

I’m really glad I managed to capture a few nice things, but I’m saddened that winter really passed us by this year. Who can forget this.

Recording Geek Note: Both Recordings were ORTF stereo recordings with Schoeps CMC 5 bodies and MK4 capsules. It was tracked with a Cooper CS 104 feeding a Sound Devices 744T.

 

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Window Birds

Last week I posted a short recording of spring peepers from my anniversary getaway with the Missus in upstate New York.  The frogs were chirping away, but they were not the only creatures making a racket.   Since it was Memorial Day weekend, it was inevitable that our peace and quiet would be encroached upon once Friday came along.  As our week passed, we were met with sounds of lots of noisy campers and the occasional lawnmower.  However, one of the more beautiful sounds was the bird life every morning when everyone else was still sleeping. There is a tree right outside our window which birds love to congregate in, which leads to a chorus of activity:

I set the recorder up right by the window facing the tree, and I had it kick in at 4:30 AM and go out of record at 8:00 AM.  Not only did the recording turn out wonderfully, but I managed to sleep soundly all morning because I didn’t have to wake up and punch record! I love the timer on the Sound Devices recorders.  There is one edit point in the recording which I tagged.  The file above starts at 4:30 AM and then I cut in around 7:00 AM, so you could hear how the sound changed as the morning wore on.  There are also a couple of nice wing flaps in there.

I’d be grateful for any species identifications.

Recording Geek Note: Rig consists of Schoeps CMC5’s setup for MS, with the MK4 as the mid. It was all tracked to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96.

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Paradise in Narrowsburg, NY

Since the Missus and I have been back in NYC for a while, we realize how important it is to get out of town from time to time.  I’m quite lucky to have in-laws who are always willing to share the getaway house on the Upper Delaware in New York State.  I know that this past year would have been very different  if I didn’t have the opportunity to get out of dodge and get to this little slice of paradise.

It is hard to argue you with a view like that.  Actually, let’s zoom out a bit . . . .

Yeah, you really can’t argue with that.  Spring is finally here and that means that bird life is teeming.  We had the pleasure of watching a group of turkey vultures pick at a deer carcass all through the day today, but unfortunately they didn’t make much sound.  They were actually quite civil towards each other.  I took the opportunity this weekend to record some of the birdlife, without the very polite turkey vultures.

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I set up my gear on the deck in the backyard; this recording starts at around 5:00 AM.  Unfortunately, paradise is not immune from vehicular traffic, but this is one of the cleaner sections.  If you listen closely, you can hear the river flowing and tons of little birdies going to town.

I’d be grateful for any species IDs in the comments.

Recording Geek Note:  Rig consists of Schoeps CMC5 setup for MS, with the MK4 as the mid.  It was all tracked to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96.

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Corkscrew Swamp Revisited

About a year ago I went down to Naples, Florida to record at Corkscrew Swamp and was met with mixed results.  The area is overrun with retirement communities, which means air traffic and vehicular traffic.  I don’t know why I thought this year would be better, but unfortunately it wasn’t.  I was met with the same challenges and was unable to get clean recordings for more than a few minutes at a time.  I am still sifting through the raw material, but one of the highlights I have come across is this duet between Carolina Wrens, which are pretty predominant in the swamp. In the distance you can also hear a small scrub jay squeaking away. (Thanks to Martyn Stewart of http://naturesound.org for the bird identification.)

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Regardless of the noise challenges, Corkscrew Swamp is truly an amazing place to see the sun come up.  There are over 3 miles of boardwalk that enable one to traverse normally inhospitable areas.  I managed to get rather close to a group of wood storks, but my recording gear was set up elsewhere.  When I returned to capture their harsh nasal squawks, they had taken off.   I waited for quite a while to see if they would return, but I ran out of luck.  By the time it hit 9:00 AM or so, the air traffic had kicked into high gear; nothing like geriatric travellers to put a damper on your field recordings.

Recording Geek Note:  Rig consists of Schoeps CMC5 setup for MS, with the MK4 as the mid.  It was all tracked to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96.

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Noisy Corkscrew Swamp

Back in late December of 2008 I was down in Naples, Florida for a short trip and decided to check out Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. It is a remarkably beautiful place that features an old growth cypress forest that barely lets light pass through it.  It also has a boardwalk that takes  you through a healthy chunk of the swamp to areas that are normally be  hard to get to.  I saw herons, hawks, thrushes, and even a raccoon.  I’m not talking about the kind of raccoon that eats your trash, but a real raccoon that is not fat on Whoppers from Burger King.  The raccoon was svelte and pounced on a fish like a cheetah.  I wish I had pictures, but the raccoon was super fast and I also forgot my camera.  

So you get the idea – Corkscrew Swamp is pretty damn cool.  All except for one thing:  noise!  All those birds and critters make great sounds, but you can’t hear them that well when planes are constantly flying over head and heavy traffic is always driving by.  Apparently, it didn’t used to be like this, but when Naples became a prime retirement location, air traffic increased and the surrounding roads were widened to accommodate more traffic.  I wish I had the opportunity to record there 15 years ago.

I am currently in the process of sifting through the recordings from that day to try and find some clean material and I’m not having a tremendous amount of luck.  It is one of those places where you have to record for weeks to get just a few hours of usable material.

This is a short clip of some cool birdies with some not so cool traffic overlapping the recording.  Of all of the material I have sifted through this has the least offensive intrusion of human sound.

Recording Geek Note:  Rig consists of Schoeps CMC5 setup for MS, with the MK4 as the mid.  It was all tracked to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96.

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