Nature has helped me to understand myself.
Nature has given me the courage to probe my innermost, darkest corners.
Nature has clarified my thoughts and invigorated my mind.
Nature has helped me to understand how insignificant I am.
Nature is like a drop of water at the end of a straw.
Nature is like the call of the crane.
Nature is like the universe.
How is it created? How is it designed?
The idea of publishing this work came about in the autumn of 2001 when I was on a remote marshland recording cranes preparing themselves for migration. It had been a calm and cold night, and in the morning just before dawn, the entire marshland was wrapped in a thick fog. In the east, the horizon was getting lighter in anticipation of the approaching dawn. A pregnant, quiet, peaceful calm encompassed the region. Suddenly and quite unexpectedly, the call cry of a crane shattered the peace above the open marshland. After a while, a reply call resounded from the other edge of the marshland. The cranes had gathered on the marshland for their migration.
This publication includes samples and soundscapes from marshland and wetland environments. I have gone through hours of material that has accumulated during the years and have selected the best samples for this CD. It contains recordings from aapa and flark mires, from luxuriant lakes and bays teeming with birdlife. On these remote and peaceful lands of the cranes, one can hear many extremely exotic and distinctive sounds of birds like a Jack Snipe and a Whimbrel.
I am very grateful to all of you who have contributed to this recording in so many ways. In particular, I express warm thanks to my wife Maarit for her support.
Kuopio, 4th September 2007
Producer / Recording engineer
Track descriptions and background species
01 MEADOW PIPIT AND COMMON CRANE 8 June 2006, 3.50 a.m. Pelkosenniemi, Kokonaapa. Spring morning in the heart of an aapa mire. Surrounded by wilderness, an open mire is an important habitat for many animals. Humans and predators cannot move in the mire, so it provides a safe nesting site for many birds, for example, Meadow Pipit and Common Crane. This recording also includes sounds of the bells of a grazing herd of reindeer. Jack Snipe, Common Cuckoo, Black Grouse, Willow Warbler, Common Redpoll, Common Snipe, Whooper Swan, Redwing, Eurasian Golden Plover. 3´20"
02 SOUNDSCAPE 1 26 May 2007, 2.00 a.m. Savukoski, Sarvilampi. The ethereal sounds of light spring nights in Lapland on the shore of a marshy pond deep in the wilderness. Tufted Ducks have arrived at the pond which has just become free from its cover of ice. The birds’ courtship displays are in full swing. The swish of wings resounds in this soundscape. Tufted Duck, Common Cuckoo, Redwing, Wood Sandpiper, Great Tit, Willow Warbler, Black Grouse. 2´44"
03 FROG 26 May 2007, 1.30 a.m. Savukoski, Iisakkijärvi. A spring night on the shore of a small lake in the wilderness. The marshy shore of the lake offers an excellent breeding habitat not only for birds but also for frogs.Common Cuckoo, Common Snipe, Reed Bunting, Redwing, Whooper Swan, Common Goldeneye. 3´23"
04 YELLOW WAGTAIL AND WHIMBREL 27 June 2003, 4.00 a.m. Salla, Nuolusoiva. A colony of Yellow Wagtails has settled down to nest at the edge of an open mire. The sounds of a Whimbrel and a Eurasian Golden Plover emerging from the mire reveal the area’s northern location. Eurasian Golden Plover, Willow Warbler, Bar-tailed Godwit, Redwing, Common Cuckoo. 4´07
05 BLACK-TAILED GODWIT 22 April 2000, 5.30 a.m. Kuopio, Kaislastenlahti. An early spring morning in the quiet waters of a river running down to the shore of a reedy lakeside bay. Floodwater has risen onto a fallow field on the shore. A migrating Black-tailed Godwit has stopped to rest and eat in the flooded area. Northern Lapwing, Common Crane, Eurasian Curlew, Common Teal, Common Chaffinch, Carrion Crow, Fieldfare, Eurasian Black Grouse. 2´06"
06 GARGANEY / SOUNDSCAPE 12 May 2005, 6.20 a.m. Matsalu, Estonia. The mating call of a male Garganey is one of the most unusual natural sounds. This call is difficult to describe; it is rather quiet and it is easily obscured by other sounds. In this recording, the mating calls of the Garganey are a part of the morning concert presented by the birds. Willow Warbler, Chaffinch, Barnacle Goose, , Common Cuckoo, Greater Whitethroat. 2´21"
07 COMMON RINGED PLOVER AND TEMMINCK’S STINT 3 June 2006, 3.55 a.m. Sodankylä, Lokka. A dry forest slopes gently and in the distance merges into the shoreline which is mostly marshland. On this wide shore with its many small ponds, a colony of Temminck’s Stints has found a nesting site. Common Cuckoo, Willow Warbler, Brambling, Herring Gull, Common Redpoll, White Wagtail, Common Sandpiper, Arctic Tern, Common Snipe. 2´56"
08 LITTLE CRAKE 2 June 2003, 1.45 a.m. Parikkala, Siikalahti. If you are very lucky, you can hear the song of the very rare Little Crake in the reeds favoured by so many wetland birds. The female bird which can be heard in this recording, has found its niche in one of the most important bird wetlands in Finland. Sedge Warbler, Common Black-headed Gull, Thrush Nightingale, Little Gull. 3´53"
09 COMMON GREENSHANK AND WILLOW GROUSE 26 April 2002, 3.45 a.m. Rautalampi, Rastunsuo. At the end of April, the birds’ spring migration is at its peak. A shallow bird lake in the middle of an open mire is an important resting site for many migrating birds. The lake, which has become free from its cover of ice, is teeming with birdlife. Moor Frog, Common Snipe, Common Goldeneye, Frog, Jack Snipe, Common Teal, Green Sandpiper, Eurasian Wigeon, Redwing, Mallard, Bean Goose, Great Crested Grebe, Common Crane, Whooper Swan. 4´35"
10 BAR-TAILED GODWIT 26 June 2003, 4.45 a.m. Salla, Nuolusoiva. Damp places can be found on the treeless mountains of the arctic. On these highlands in wide mire areas one can encounter nesting Bar-tailed Godwits. In the recording, you can hear sounds of Bar-tailed Godwits nursing their nestlings on a windy, bare mountaintop. Wood Sandpiper, Willow Warbler, Whimbrel. 2´51"
11 SPOTTED CRAKE AND WHOOPER SWAN 11 June 2006, midnight, Maaninka, Patalahti. The sounds of a summer night on the shore of a bay which is covered by a wide mat of reeds. The Spotted Crakes making a sound like a whip-lash can be heard beating rhythmically in this soundscape. Sedge Warbler, Common Black-headed Gull, Eurasian Curlew, Eurasian Bittern. 2´32"
12 GADWALL AND MALLARD 12 May 2005, 6.50 a.m. Matsalu, Estonia. A small pond in one of Estonia’s largest and best-loved wetlands is the territory of a pair of nesting Gadwalls. A male Mallard which has his territory on the pond, protests loudly at the presence of the Gadwalls. Common Black-headed Gull, Willow Warbler, Eurasian Bittern, Mute Swan, House Sparrow, Cock, Yellowhammer, Barnacle Goose, Common Chaffinch, Prairie Warbler. 3´27"
13 COMMON SNIPE AND EURASIAN BITTERN 9 May 2001, 11.50 a.m. Vesanto, Sonkari. The sounds of midnight in May on the shore of a bay swarming with birds. It is the time in early summer when frogs in the wetlands are at their most boisterous, and also many birds are calling in the deep of the night. Moor Frog, Red-necked Grebe, Frog, Northern Lapwing. 4´42"
14 COMMON CUCKOO AND RED-THROATED DIVER 18 June 2006, 4.45 a.m. Suonenjoki. A marshy pond in the wilderness which contains a tiny island is a suitable nesting place for a pair of Red-throated Divers. From this kind of peaceful pond in the wilderness, the Red-throated Divers go fishing further out on the open sea. The recording was made on a secluded pond where the birds were nesting. As a cuckoo is calling, the Red-throated Divers decide to make their territory known via their blood-curdling mating calls. Common Chaffinch. 2´25"
15 SOUNDSCAPE 2 27 April 2001, 5.25 a.m. Rautalampi, Rastunsuo. A foggy morning in April on the lake favoured by many birds. This shallow lake which is surrounded by a wide treeless peat bog is a paradise for waders and pond birds. Moor Frog, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Black-headed Gull, Eurasian Curlew, Mew Gull, Redwing, Green Sandpiper, Reed Bunting, Eurasian Black Grouse, Common Teal, Fieldfare, Song Thrush. 2´30"
16 GREAT REED WARBLER AND COMMON REED BUNTING 16 June 2001, 00.35 a.m. Kuopio, Lamperila. A midsummer night on the shore of a pond. A Great Reed Warbler which is a rarity in Finland has marked its territory in the high reeds of the shore. Fieldfare, Great Crested Grebe, Song Thrush, Whooper Swan, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Curlew. 3´17"
17 COMMON REDSHANK AND GOOSANDER 27 May 2001, 4.30 a.m. Pori, Preivikinlahti. The sounds of a spring morning on the shore of a bay full of birds. The shallow shore waters and grasses of the bay are important habitats for waders and pond birds. Reed Bunting, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Common Black-headed Gull, Carrion Crow, Black Grouse, Common Pheasant, Woodpigeon, Common Cuckoo, Common Tern. 3´36"
18 WOOD SANDPIPER 11 June 2002, 4.10 a.m. Pelkosenniemi, Kaira-aapa. One of the most typical sounds of the northern nature of mires is the happy warbling song of a Wood Sandpiper. At the beginning of the recording, you can hear the bird’s clacking warning and later on, a mating call which is typical of this species. Common Cuckoo, Willow Warbler, Eurasian Curlew, Yellow Wagtail, Common Snipe, Jack Snipe, Brambling. 3´01"
19 WATER RAIL AND COMMON CRANE 28 June 1999, 4.30 a.m. Pori, Kuuminainen. A marshy shore area changes into a wide sea of reeds in the distance. On this difficult and inaccessible shoreline, a Water Rail and a Common Crane have found a sheltered nesting spot. Eurasian Reed Warbler. 2´46"
20 JACK SNIPE 7 June 2006, 3.40 a.m. Sodankylä, Lokka. Jack Snipe is a species which nests on the wide and open aapa and flark mires in the north. This exotic bird of the peatlands has a very distinctive mating call. The sound can be heard every now and then from the bird’s territory - it resembles a hoof beat. That is why birdwatchers have given the bird the nickname "ghost rider". Willow Warbler, Brambling, Common Redpoll, Common Cuckoo, Temminck’s Stint, Eurasian Black Grouse, Arctic Tern, Long-tailed Jaeger. 2´32"
21 SOUNDSCAPE 3 25 May 2007, 10.00 p.m. Savukoski, Sarvilampi. In spring, when the floodwaters are rising, a Common Goldeneye arrives on the shoreline. It is one of the first species of pond birds to breathe new life into the soundscape on the shore. In addition to the squeaking and crunching sounds, the mating calls of this bird include the sounds of its energetic wing beats. Common Goldeneye, Wood Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Arctic Tern, Common Crane, Common Cuckoo, Redwing. 4´34"
22 COMMON SNIPE 9 May 2001, 11.05 a.m. Vesanto, Sonkari. In the twilight of a spring night, the call of a Common Snipe during its mating flight can create an enchanting spell covering the wetlands. In this recording, the bleating sound of the Common Snipe flying above the wetland on the shore comes from the tail feathers of the bird. Moor Frog, Northern Lapwing, Northern Pintail, Red-necked Grebe, Whooper Swan. 2´40"
23 GREY HERON 12 May 2005, 4.10 a.m. Matsalu, Estonia. A calm morning in May in the company of a small colony of Grey Herons. These birds build their nests in trees, mostly in the vicinity of a suitable wetland. The calls of the Grey Heron consist of many different types of raspy sounds. The sounds of a Great Cormorant are rather similar. Willow Warbler, Common Chaffinch, Barnacle Goose, Mew Gull, Cock, Yellowhammer, Mallard, Gadwall, Garganey, 2´54"
24 COMMON CRANE AND COMMON RAVEN 2 September 2003, 6.00 a.m. Rautalampi, Rastunsuo. The sounds of an autumn morning in the open mire. It is that time of the autumn when the Common Cranes start to gather and form migrating flocks. As the sun rises, the greeting calls of the Common Cranes spread over the foggy mire. Mallard, Eurasian Black Grouse, Carrion Crow. 3´27"
Translated by Airi and Ewen MacDonald 2007