The nine tracks of morning soundscapes blend into a single entity reflecting the uniqueness and distinctiveness of the wilderness in Lapland. This is the only place on earth where you can encounter the sparklingly fresh song of the Pine Grosbeak as the March sun shimmers on the snowdrifts. Only here, on the northern edge of the conifer forests can you hear the song of the forest’s mysterious mimic-bird, the Siberian Jay. Only here, can you experience the wonder of the wild woodlands with their lichen-covered fir trees and moss-blanketed birches. Only here in the far north, can you hear the songs of the White-throated Dipper by the banks of a burbling spring of crystal-clear water and be dazzled by the brightness of the sun on the snow-covered landscape. Only here can you hear how the Nature resounds in the Lapp midsummer in the dazzling light of the midnight sun.
I would like to thank all of you who have helped me and ensured that this soundscape has been completed. Heartfelt thanks to my wife, Maarit, for all her support.
Kuopio, March 4th 2008
Producer / Recording engineer
Track descriptions and background species
01 The song of the White-throated Dippers by a stream at the end of March. 22 March 2007, 1.00 p.m. Kuusamo, Kiveskoski.
There is a small stream, full to the brim with the melting snow, twisting and turning through the snow-covered landscape. The branches of the fir trees are bent low with the weight of the snow covering them and they cast long shadows on the snowdrifts as the sun shines out of a cloud-free sky. The song of the White-throated Dippers is heard once again as they sing their spring chorus. The birds are perched on jagged rocks jutting out of the sparkling stream. From time to time, one of the birds interrupts his refrain to dive into the water in search of supper. In no time at all, his lookout rock is quickly occupied by another bird, which appears from nowhere and sweeps across the water so close to the surface that its feet dip into the icy cold stream. The treetops sway in a brisk spring breeze, but down at the ground level there is shelter from the wind.
02 The land of the light nights. 22 May 2004, 2.50 a.m. Savukoski, Seitajärvi.
A stream is winding its way through the wooded wilderness towards a lake full of sparklingly clear water. The branches of the willows and dwarf birches hang over the still waters of the brook. In a swampy area near to the banks of the lake, the wild rosemary (marsh labrador tea) will soon burst into bloom. Far in the distance, you can hear the low thunderous sound of the waterfalls in the mountains. The songbirds, waders and waterfowl have come back to their nesting sites. Bluethroat, Common Snipe, Redwing, Willow Warbler, Song Thrush, Hooded Crow, Fieldfare, Wood Sandpiper, Great Spotted Woodpecker, European Golden Plover, Black Grouse.
03 The wilderness awakens. 8 June 2006, 5.30 a.m. Pelkosenniemi, Vuotos.
In the northern parts of Fell Lapland , there is still lots of snow in May and the lakes are deep frozen. Further south in the aapa mires and wooded parts of Lapland, there are clear signs of spring. Here, at the end of May, the rivers and lakes are free from ice. There is still some snow in the gullies and on the northern slopes of the hills and fells. All through the long days of spring you can enjoy the songs of the birds, but the most impressive concert of birdsong is to be heard as dawn breaks on a still May morning. Willow Warbler, Redwing, Common Cuckoo, Common Redpoll, Whooper Swan, Tree Pipit, Brambling, Little Bunting, Black Grouse.
04 The Pine Grosbeak – the songster of wooded Lapland in the springtime. 27 March 2007, 9.25 a.m. Savukoski, Pyytövaara.
At night, the temperature in Lapland can plummet to -40 but during the day when the sun shines on the sheltered southern slopes of the hills the temperature can rise above zero. That is the time at the end of February or the beginning of March when the Pine Grosbeak arrives in the wooded parts of Lapland to seek out nesting spots. On such a sunny day, with the sun’s rays glistening on the crisp snow, you can hear the beautiful, bright, mating call of this mysterious bird. Great Spotted Woodpecker, Common Redpoll.
05 A landscape of swamps and wooded hills. 8. 8 June 2006, 3.20 a.m. Pelkosenniemi, Kokonaapa.
The largest expanse of marsh land is to be found in the region of eastern Forest Lapland north of the Arctic Circle. In this part of aapa-Lapland, the marsh areas are interspersed between wooded hills and fells. Scattered throughout the landscape, one can find crystal clear ponds and lakes. In places a river spreads itself through the landscape to form a kind of bayou. The region where the hilly, wooded sloping ground gives way to the marshland, is a place favoured by birds and you will also find reindeer grazing here. It is settings like this which make Lapland such a mystical part of the world with its own unique soundscape. Brambling, Whooper Swan, Willow Warbler, Black Grouse, Common Redpoll, Common Cuckoo, Meadow Pipit, Common Crane, Yellow Wagtail, Common Snipe, Willow Ptarmigan, Wood Sandpiper, Redwing.
06 The glistening fells on the northern horizon. 7 June 2006, 3.30 a.m. Sodankylä, Lokka.
The distant Lapp mountains can just be made out on the blue horizon. There is a magical lightness about the Lapp midsummer night – this is something you can only experience in Lapland. At this time in June, the air is filled with the scent of the wild rosemary (marsh tea plant) and at the magical midnight hour you can hear how beautifully the birds are singing. This is the sound of the marshland with the added uniqueness of the whish of the wingbeats of the large birds of prey as they circle far overhead. Long-tailed Skua, Common Cuckoo, Temminck’s Stint, Willow Ptarmigan, Common Sandpiper, Arctic Tern, Common Redpoll, Willow Warbler, Eagle species (wingbeats), Eurasian Wigeon, Black Grouse, Common Reed Bunting.
07 The swamplands in May and the arrival of the Bean Geese. 20 May 2004, 4.20 a.m. Pelkosenniemi, Aapajärvi.
The first rains and the first warm sunny days of the spring have melted the ice and snow and now large tracts of land are under water. At this time, your ears hear nothing but the songs of the returning migratory birds. The inaccesible pine swamps and fens provide safe and secure nesting sites for the Bean Geese and the other birds who live in these wetlands. At the edges of the swamps, where the dark green trees give way to the fenlands, one can hear a symphony of birdsong and breathe the intoxicating scent of the spring. Spotted Redshank, Redwing, Common Greenshamk, Willow Warbler, Black Grouse, Wood Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Common Raven, Common Redstart, Eurasian Wryneck, Whimbrel, Yellow Wagtail, Willow Ptarmigan, Common Cuckoo.
08 The sounds of the spring interrupt the silence of wilderness. 30 April 2003, 3.45 a.m. Savukoski, Mukkavaara.
Newly fallen snow has quickly shrouded the wilderness with a white blanket which now reflects the star-filled heavens in the deep silence of the night. The only sounds to be heard are the distant hoot of an owl and the far-off yelp of a fox. This is the time of year when the first glimmerings of light start to awaken the slumbering wilderness. Soon the wilderness will rejoice in the mating calls of the Black Grouse, soon the mating rituals of these grouse will resound through the early morning mists covering the fells and swamps. Common Redpoll, Willow Ptarmigan.
09 The Siberian Jay, the mystery mimic of the woods. 23 May 2007 4.00 a.m. Pelkosenniemi, Kokonvaara.
On the lower slopes of the fell, the woodland becomes denser and the slender branches of the moss-covered fir trees reach up to the skies. The branches of an old silver-barked birch tree twist and turn among the fir trees. One ancient lone, pine tree stands on the slopes of the fell. Its bark is ragged, wrinkled and resin-coated. This part of Forest Lapland, the depths of the taiga forest, is home to the mysterious, mimic bird – the Siberian Jay.European Pied Flycatcher, Brambling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Willow Warbler, Black Grouse, Common Crane.Species which the Siberian Jay is mimicking (in this recording there might possibly be the sound of two Siberian Jays): Song Thrush, Redwing, Common Redpoll, Tree Pipit, other unidentified bird species.
Translated by Airi MacDonald and Ewen MacDonald 2008