An Orgy of Toads

Toad Orgy - featured image

The breeding season of frogs and toads is upon us, with one species after the other kicking into action as spring unfolds. American Toads will soon be calling, their sweet, dreamy trills blanketing the landscape both day and night. Last year about this time, I came across a frenzy of mating toads, partaking in a phenomenal orgy of activity … [Read more...]

Woolly Worm Walk

Wooly Worm Walk - featured image

Frabjous Day ... spring is finally bursting forth with a few days in the 70s and things are beginning to rock. High points yesterday included my first sightings of Woolly Worms (Woolly Bears) walkin' along with an excited gait. I managed to videotape one and I even wrote a little poem to suit: The Woolly Worm, Pyrrharctia isabella, is one of … [Read more...]

The Woodies Have Begun!

The Woodies are Back - featured image, © Lang Elliott

Last night I found my first active group of Wood Frogs, the males cackling excitedly from a small pond in a nearby wildlife management area. What's more, females were laying eggs like crazy and I managed to get some decent video footage of the process: Just in case you're wondering, the entire sound track is contrived, built from other … [Read more...]

Salamander Poetics & Frustrations

Salamander Frustrations - featured image

In this two-parted blog post, I make an attempt to capture the poetic aspect of tuning-in to the salamander migration, and then follow that with an essay conveying my frustration at being unable to get great video footage, and the impact of that frustration on keeping the dream alive: POETICS: Sometimes it is easy to kiss the earth, … [Read more...]

Salamander Night – April 4-5, 2014

Salamander Night - featured image

Last night, I was delighted to witness a fairly large-scale movement of Spotted Salamanders, mostly occurring in the wee hours of the morning. It's April 5 here in upstate New York. Most years, the spotties would be done by now. After dark, I met up with my friend Bill Wallauer and we checked out several locations near Syracuse, N.Y. One high … [Read more...]

Singing Robin Success!

singing robin success - featured image, © Lang Elliott

I have been planning to put together a NatureWatch profile featuring the American Robin, but I've been missing some really good singing sequences. So on this clear-sky early April morning, I set out to remedy the situation ... and what good luck I had! I arrived at the "Cornell Plantations Arboretum" area promptly at 7am, just before the sun … [Read more...]

Robin Drops Berry

robin drops berry - featured image

Hi all! I was out this morning testing my video gear and I came across a robin feeding on the over-wintered berries of a Bittersweet vine, growing in an apple tree. I thought that I'd snatched a nice clip showing him swallowing a berry, but when I viewed it later in my studio, I was surprised to discover that he actually dropped the berry ... … [Read more...]

Coqui Calling

Here is a brief video clip of a Common Coqui singing. Note how he warms up with single low-pitched notes before launching into his full call: ko ... ko ... ko ... ko-keee ... ko-keee ... ko-keee ... I hope you like my coqui video. This was the only male I found who lent himself well to being videotaped. Please let me know what you think of … [Read more...]

Coqui Retrospect

photo-collage showing transition from Puerto Rican tropical rainforest to snowy scene in Ithaca, NY

What a shocking change … in a matter of just six hours we transition from a humid tropical rainforest biome with temperatures in the high 80s (F) to a late winter north temperate snow-covered landscape with temperatures in the 30s. This seems almost incongrous, with coquis still sounding off in my head as a frigid breeze blows against my face. How … [Read more...]

Tinklers, Pippers and P’teekers

El Yunque Landscape

The Common Coqui (Eleutherodactylus coqui) is not the only member of the genus to inhabit the forests, fields, and roadsides of Puerto Rico. I believe there are sixteen species altogether. While I made no effort to search them all out, I did stumble upon several having interesting calls. My favorite (other than E. coqui) is a frog I have named … [Read more...]

Guanica at Dusk (nightjars & cloudscape)

Guanica Cloudscape at Dusk

While visiting dry tropical scrubland near Guanica on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico, we recorded the Puerto Rican Nightjar, singing at dusk. Bob got some amazing closeups and I recorded a relaxing soundscape that features two nightjars, along with the eveloping whoosh of ocean waves washing into the shoreline about a quarter-mile … [Read more...]

Coqui Magic Night

photo of Common Coqui

  We arrived safely in Puerto Rico on Thursday afternoon and made our way without incident to the Casa Cabuy Ecolodge on the south edge of El Yunque National Forest. Quite a beautiful location, but we were disappointed to find that loud stream noise permeated the entire area ... without doubt, we will have to hike into the high country to … [Read more...]

Coqui Destination – Puerto Rico

photo of Lang with maple leaves

After months of grueling computer work leading to the launch of our new online store, I'm finally breaking free with a weeklong journey to Puerto Rico, accompanied by fellow recordist Bob McGuire. My personal goal is to record soundscapes featuring a tiny tropical frog called the Coqui, the "official mascot" of the Puerto Rican culture. Why is this … [Read more...]

Twilight Tremolo

Listening to the sounds of night can be rewarding and sometimes scary (see Lang's post). Armed with some knowledge of what these sounds are will assuage your fears, creating a feeling of joy and reward when you hear something that you recognize. Among these amazing night-time sounds are the calls of the Eastern Screech-owl. These diminutive … [Read more...]

Mysterious Voices of the Night

photo of a full moon against a cloudy sky

In the world of nature sounds, mysteries abound, especially when it comes to weird and puzzling voices of the night … Not long ago a woman by the name of Gail Canterbury heard a strange squealing sound late one evening in her backyard near Cortland, New York. Her husband Don made a recording with the video camera in his cell phone. He then … [Read more...]

Memories of Spring (Pilliga Goodnight)

photo of Missouri River at dusk

It is the tenth of November, at dusk, and I am gazing at a picturesque bend in the Missouri River. The sky is pink and autumn leaves still cling to oaks on the hillside. Winter is almost upon us here in North America, yet I am immersed in fresh memories of spring from a faraway land. We have returned from our Australian expedition, arriving … [Read more...]