Lapland – a land with five seasons in every year
Lapland – the largest expanse of untouched wetland in Europe
Lapland – the presence of the Arctic Ocean adds another dimension to the harshness of the weather
Lapland – where the mythical taiga landscape is surrounded by the expanse of the tundra
Lapland – a nesting place for the rough-legged buzzard in the cracks of the cliffs or the clefts of an ancient pine tree
Lapland – where the wild spring song of the ptarmigan resounds through the willows on the edges of the swamp
Lapland – from its hilltops on a starry night one can almost hear the heavens cry out "Why? Oh Why?
Producer / Recording engineer
Track descriptions and background species
01 Early June Morning in the Forest of the Three-toed Woodpecker 02.30, 3rd June 2008, Sokanaapa, Sokanharju, Pelkosenniemi. 15’14"
In the far north, on the distant horizon, the dazzling midnight sun shines a dim light into the expanse of wooded hills, fells and wetlands. A ridge runs like an arm into the edge of the wetlands with a narrow pine forest. On this ridge, there is an ancient lichen-covered fir tree forest which makes a zig-zag pattern against the horizon of the night sky. In the gloomy light which penetrates down to the forest floor, just beside a venerable ant-hill, in the trunk of a dead standing tree, one can find the nest of the three-toed woodpecker. As the gloom of the night fades into the early morning dawn, the woodpeckers start their rhythmic drumming. The forest starts to resound and the chorus of birds swells through the wetlands. Common Cuckoo, Willow Warbler, Eurasian Black Grouse, Redwing, Tree pipit, Common snipe, Common Crane, Eurasian Curlew, Bean Goose, Common Redstart, Willow Grouse, Brambling, Crow, Common Redpoll, Crossbill
02 The chant of the Whooper Swans in the dawn’s early light 04.30, 30th April 2009, Arvosjoki, Pelkosenniemi. 7’30"
The calm of the starry night recedes, giving way to the startling brightness of the Arctic dawn. There are breaks in the melting mounds of snow and these appear to be basking in the first rays of the early morning sun. At the edge of the melting ice, four, dazzling white, whooping swans are moving back and forth in the dark water. The birds have just returned from their migration and instinctively started their nest building rituals. The dawn’s rays seem to trigger the ancient chant from these proud birds which shatters the calm of the morning. Common Goldeneye.
03 An early morning in May by the wetland home of the Willow Ptarmigan 02.15, 22nd May 2007 Sokanaapa, Pelkosenniemi. 10’01"
By the end of May, the nights in the far north are little more than a few moments of shadowy dimness. The Lapp spring creeps up with stealth; soon the midnight sun will rule the sky. At this time, the mysterious courtship rituals of the ptarmigan and other fowl which started already in April are still in being observed with vigour. The water from melting snow has completely obscured the vegetation in the wetlands, except on the edges of the swamp where clumps of willow and stunted birch trees form a thicket – this is the courtship arena for the ptarmigans in their best spring attire. Eurasian Black Grouse, Common Cuckoo, Common Redstart, Redwing, Black-throated Diver, Tufted Duck
04 The call of the Rough-legged Buzzards shatters the silence of the wilderness 04.30, 24th May 2007 Viitaranta, Savukoski. 7’13"
On a bright and open side of the hill stands an ancient pine forest, some of the trees are dry-standing. High on the hill, there is one group of giant pines sticking up above the background and within this group, one tree stands out against all the others – a grey gnarled giant of a pine tree. Over the centuries, birds of prey have built their homes in its lofty branches, their huge nests built out of twigs, sticks and branches. This year, rough-legged buzzards, newly arrived from their southerly migration, are occupying a nest once home to ospreys. From their high vantage point, the call of these buzzards echoes through this forested wilderness. Willow Warbler, Fieldfare, Common Redstart, Redwing, Tree Pipit, Yellowhammer, Northern Wryneck, Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Brambling, Common Cuckoo, Woodpigeon.
05 A dawn chorus in a clump of trees in the swampy wetland 02.15, 4th June 2008, Sokanaapa, Pelkosenniemi. 11’42"
Far in the distance, like an island rising out of the sea, there is a forested glade on a ridge. By the edge of the wetland, there is a patch of willow and birch trees. Their bright green colour is highlighted against the dark hues of the conifer forest. In this special niche with its three distinct natural environments, one can hear the most magnificent dawn chorus which resounds through the warmth and calm of this bright summer’s night. Bean Goose, Three-toed Woodpecker, Reed Bunting, Eurasian Black Grouse, Yellow Wagtail, Common Snipe, Willow Warbler, Brambling, Tree Pipit, Willow Grouse, Song Thrush, Common Cuckoo, Wood Sandpiper, Common Redpoll, Tufted Duck, Common Crane, Green Sandpiper
06 The courtship song of the Western Capercaillie on a spring evening 23.45, 29th April 2009, Akanvaara, Savukoski. 14’05"
Near to the Arctic Circle, as April changes to May, the setting sun has slowly moved to the north-east corner of the sky. In the hazy gloom of the spring evening, the western capercaillies (or wood grouse) arrive at their stamping ground in their finest plumage. As the evening grows older, the capercaillies gather in the centre of the arena which is an area of the pine forest where there are small mounds. Here, in the heart of this everlasting mystery, the male capercaillies start their quiet courtship rituals. First one of these songsters emits his rallying call to his compatriots, the deep sound of his wing beats resounding far into the distance. Eurasian Black Grouse, Willow Grouse.
07 A summer morning by a small lake in the woods 03.35, 4th June 2008, Pelkosenniemi. 11’14"
The shimmering small lake seems to be cradled in the arms of the conifers on this bright summer’s morning. The shallow, flooded shore is awash with the scent of the marsh tea plants. In the clear water of the lake, a shoal of grayling are feeding on the insects on the water’s surface. Every now and then, the reflection in the water of the forest and the blue sky is disturbed by the ripples of expanding rings. Willow Warbler, Brambling, Common Cuckoo, Common Redstart, Three-toed Woodpecker, Eurasian Siskin, Common Snipe, Whooper Swan, Bean Goose, Eurasian Curlew, Common Redpoll, Tree Pipit, Red-necked Phalarope, Spotted Flycatcher, Wood Sandpiper, Pied Flycatcher.
Translated by Airi MacDonald and Ewen MacDonald 2010