This series of publications is devoted to the soundscapes of the Far North. These recordings were made in northern Europe, mainly in Finnish Lapland. The purpose of this series of recordings is to describe authentically the arctic world where the northern taiga forest is gradually replaced by treeless tundra. This transition area encompasses many different types and varying natural environments. These include the wide and unspoiled wilderness forests of Forested Lapland, the unending bare landscapes of Fell Lapland and the distinctive and rich habitat of the mires of Aapa Lapland. Here one can encounter migratory birds or bird species which live in these spots all year round, birds whose song can only be heard in these remote environments. These northern species include the Siberian Tit, the Little Bunting, the Jack Snipe and the Temminck’s Stint etc., all of which can be heard on this CD.
My first recording expedition to Lapland took place in June, 2000. At that time, my goal was to record a singing Bluethroat. Though this goal was achieved, I knew that I would have to return again and again to these landscapes. Subsequently, I devised the idea of making a recording of northern soundscapes. This project proved to be a very challenging task, mainly due to the changing weather conditions in Lapland. However, over the years I have succeeded in recording soundscapes which have not been previously recorded. I want to thank friends, guides, helpers and birdwatchers and all of you who have contributed to the recording of the first CD in what is intended to be a series of recordings. My warmest thanks to my wife Maarit for her support and encouragement.
Kuopio, 10 April 2007
Producer / Recording engineer
Track descriptions and background species
01 Little Bunting’s peatland forest. 9´13". 8 June 2006, 2.15 a.m. Pelkosenniemi, Vuotos.
In June, the early morning peatland forest is filled with the scents of Wild Rosemary (Marsh Labrador Tea) and sphagnum-moss. The Little Bunting has found a nesting site in the shade of stunted pines and bushes. The beautifully resonant tones of this bird are an integral part of the exotic and magical world of the northern forest. Willow Warbler, Tree Pipit, Common Cuckoo, Common Redpoll, Whooper Swan, Eurasian Black Grouse.
02 Blue dusk of a morning in March. 5´56". 13 March 2004, 8.40 a.m. Savukoski, Mukkavaara.
A forested hill rises behind a willow thicket growing at the edge of a snow-covered, expanse of marshland. In the depth of the forest, among spruces and pines, Siberian Tits have started their morning chores. A Siberian Jay nesting in the thicket of a forest, at the mire’s edge, is arriving and lets everyone know by his song that this is his home forest.
03 Temminck’s Stint and Long-tailed Skua. 7´23". 17 June 2006, 4.15 a.m. Sodankylä, Lokka.
A colony of Temminck’s Stints have arrived in the light of northern summer from far south. The birds have found their old nesting site at a boggy mire. A pair of Long-tailed Skuas have also settled into their nesting chores. The marshland nature in early summer is full of birdsong. Common Cuckoo, Willow Warbler, Forest Wagtail, Carrion Crow, Common Sandpiper, Common Redpoll, Arctic Tern, Common Ringed Plover, Common Snipe.
04 Lapland forest in May. 7´19". 20 May 2004, 3.50 a.m. Pelkosenniemi, Aapajärvi.
By the end of May, most of the migratory birds have arrived in the forests of Lapland. After finding a suitable nesting site, they let the other birds know about it by singing vigorously. The summer in Lapland is short, which is why nesting must be started as soon as possible. At its peak, symphonies of birdsong can be heard all over the northern forests. Eurasian Black Grouse, Wood Sandpiper, Willow Warbler, Brambling, Common Snipe, Northern Wryneck, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Common Redstart, Whooper Swan, Yellow Wagtail, Bean Goose, Redwing, White-tailed Ptarmigan.
05 Scented leafy thicket at the mire's edge. 7´01". 9 June 2002, 5.30 a.m. Pelkosenniemi, Sokanaapa.
A peaceful open mire with the midnight sun low on the horizon in the north is one of the most beautiful experiences that the north can offer. These short moments in midsummer are a hectic time in the world of birds. Some species are finishing their nesting while others are just starting. Birdsong rings out both day and night, only in the north is it possible to be entranced by a bird concert in the middle of the night. Whooper Swan, Wood Sandpiper, Whinchat, Reed Bunting, Northern Wryneck, Common Cuckoo, Yellow Wagtail, Willow Grouse/Red Grouse, Whimbrel, Willow Warbler, Common Crane, Common Redpoll.
06 Golden Eagles' forest in July. 8´47". 19 July 2004, 4.30 a.m.
The pale dusk of a July night slowly gives way to the brightness of the morning. There is a calm peace of the wilderness. The morning cries of the family of Golden Eagles spread through the wide pine forest on the hillside. Crossbill SP, Brambling, Common Redstart.
07 On the shore of a pond in the wilderness. 11´23". 2 May 2004, 3.10 a.m. Pelkosenniemi, Aapajärvi.
In the depth of a pine forest rising at the edge of an aapa mire, a small clear-watered pond glistens in the light. A pair of Spotted Redshanks back from their migration have chosen the banks of this pond as their nesting site. The exotic courtship of the birds and the soothing sounds of the wilderness in the background create an atmosphere which can only be found in the northern world. Redwing, Eurasian Black Grouse, Common Greenshank, Willow Warbler, Common Snipe, Northern Wryneck, Wood Sandpiper, Common Raven, Whooper Swan, Common Redstart, Smew, Brambling.
08 At the edge of a meadow, by a brook. 5`28". 27 June 2000, 3.30 a.m. Pelkosenniemi, Pyhätunturi.
Moments of midsummer in a mountain scenery. After the rain, water flowing down the slopes of the mountains has produced many fast-flowing brooks and streams. Birds in stony meadows sing in the dawning light of early morning accompanied by the ripples from the streams. Yellow Wagtail, Northern Wheatear, Redwing, Willow Warbler, Eurasian Siskin.
09 In the heart of a wide aapa mire. 10´54". 8 June 2006, 5.30 a.m. Pelkosenniemi, Kokonaapa.
Here and there, a small patch of forest merges into the expansive landscape of a wide aapa mire. Far on the horizon, the peaks of the mountains are outlined against the sky. Late spring in Lapland has changed into the abundance of early summer. The diverse birdlife living in the aapa mire resounds and rejoices from evening to morning. Laulujoutsen, punakylkirastas, Common Cuckoo, Meadow Pipit, Jack Snipe, Willow Warbler, Common Crane, Common Snipe, Common Redpoll, Eurasian Curlew, Wood Sandpiper, Carrion Crow, Eurasian Black Grouse.
Translated by Airi MacDonald and Ewen MacDonald 2007