Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Paul's notes from the field

My initial worries about an unproductive Spring for bird recording have been put to rest. I went to my sure-fire-can't-miss recording spot in central MA yesterday and found that, in this particular wilderness, the ice storms of this past winter did minimal damage to the trees. As a result, the birds were out in their usual splendor, singing their hearts out at dawn and well into mid-morning. Meanwhile, as I noted in previous blog posts, other forests of central MA have seen a reduction in songbirds due to tree falls caused by the aforementioned storms.

Interestingly though, the species composition at my sure-fire-can't-miss spot is a bit different from what it was last year at the same time. When I was at this same exact location last May (May 11, 2008 to be exact), I noticed a lot of Eastern towhees, no red-winged blackbirds, and no wood thrushes. Yesterday, however, there were no Eastern towhees at all, several wood thrushes, and a few red-winged blackbirds. I even noticed a catbird. I normally associate wood thrushes and catbirds with summer, and so it seems that this year, at least for the birds, summer has arrived a little earlier than usual. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the flock of wild turkeys that I encountered!

I will be releasing a new soundtrack soon, based on what I recorded yesterday. This year's dawn birds of May soundtrack will feature wood thrushes prominently, because they have such a hauntingly beautiful song. I've been wanting to release something with wood thrushes for a while, and I am delighted that I finally got a good recording of them. And you may even hear a gobble-gobble or two from the turkeys!

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