Track descriptions and background species
01 COMMON GOLDENEYE / SOUNDSCAPE Bucephala clangula. 8 May 2001, 4.45 am, Kuopio (Eastern Finland), the bay of Hirvilahti. The perky-looking Common Goldeneye is a delightful sight as it appears in the first spots of open water on Finnish lakes. A courting pair of these birds makes a wide variety of sounds - one of the noisiest being the whistle of their wings when in flight. In this sample you can hear the male and female bird splashing water and occasionally taking flight. A creaking sound by the male is also heard at times. The lake is bathing in the light of the spring morning and birds are singing in the background. Great Tit, Northern Lapwing, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Curlew, Hooded Crow, Black Grouse, Fieldfare, Wood Pigeon, Common Cuckoo, Redwing, Siskin, Common Gull, Blue Tit. 2'43"
02 BLACK-THROATED DIVER Gavia stellata. 10 July 2000, 4.55 am, Kaavi (Eastern Finland), Niinivaara, Lake Niskalampi. A pair of Black-throated Divers have settled to nest on the crystal-clear lake lined by a broad ridge. The summer is at its height, but there is already a hint of autumn in the voice of the male, calling on the lake at dawn. The smooth lake and the tall pines nearby provide an impressive backdrop for the bird. Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Herring Gull. 3'11"
03 LITTLE GULL Larus minutus. 25 June 2001, 4.15 am, Rautalampi (Eastern Finland), Rastunsuo, Lake Lintujärvi. While the first rays of sunrise are falling on the bird lake, a colony of Little Gulls are busy with their morning chores. This species breeds in richly vegetated shore areas with dense reedbeds, often next to colonies of the Black-headed Gull. The bird is easy to identify by its piercing, nasal "kyek", often repeated several times without interruption. Black-headed Gull, Yellowhammer. 2'12"
04 RED-BREASTED MERGANSER / SOUNDSCAPE Mergus serrator. 29 May 2002, 4.40 am, Karttula (Eastern Finland), Lake Hirvijärvi. The Red-breasted Merganser favours clear, nutrient-poor lakes. In this sample the female is flying over the nesting lake early in the morning, giving a gruff ´ahrrk-ahrrk´ while in flight. The birds in the forest by the lake add their song to the soundscape. Wood Warbler, Willow Warbler, Blackbird, Black Grouse, Garden Warbler, Common Chaffinch, Common Gull. 1'18"
05 COMMON TEAL Anas crecca. 3 May 2001, 2.45 am, Kaavi (Eastern Finland), Sivakkavaara. The short, clear mating whistles of a Common Teal male, occupying a peaceful pond in the middle of the forest. This small, variegated duck nests on all kinds of waters. Also heard is the whirring of the wings of Black Grouses flying in the spring night. The dawn is approaching, with intense courtship scenarios just ahead. Common Snipe, Common Toad. 1'28"
06 MOOR FROG Rana arvalis. 7 May 2002 klo 1.05, Rautalampi (Eastern Finland), Rastunsuo, Lake Lintujärvi. After the ice has disappeared from bird lakes and shallow reedy coves you can hear an impressive concert on a spring night. The air is filled with the bubbling sound of the Moor Frogs, congregating to spawn in their hundreds, or even thousands. Wood Sandpiper. 2'13"
07 RED-NECKED GREBE Podiceps grisegena. 9 May 2001, 10.55 pm, Vesanto (Eastern Finland), Sonkari, the bay of Koivulahti. A pair of Red-necked Grebes passionately courting on a grassy lake cove. In calm weather, the squealing of these birds can carry for several kilometres over the surface of the lake. Frolicking in the shelter of the reedbed, the birds emit loud calls alternating with softer sounds. Moor Frog, Common Snipe, Great Bittern. 2'15"
08 COMMON SANDPIPER Actitis hypoleucos. 4 June 2002, 2.00 am, Kuopio (Eastern Finland), the bay of Kaislastenlahti. The delightfully vibrant song of the Common Sandpiper is one of the typical sounds heard on the Finnish shores in early summer. The presence of this lively creature, the calm surface of the lake and the first rays of sunrise provide an ideal setting for rest and relaxation. In the sample, the male and female bird are flying just above the water, occasionally settling on rocks. All the while, the jingling song continues uninterrupted. Also heard is the splashing of fish rising to the surface to spawn. Common Gull, Black Grouse, Fieldfare, Herring Gull, Woodcock, Redwing, Blackbird. 3'30"
09 WATER RAIL Rallus aquaticus. 29 May 2001, 11.45 pm, Pori (South-Western Finland), Lake Viasvesi. Venturing to the shores of a bird lake on an early summer night, you might hear a peculiar sound coming from the reedbed: a series of creaking sounds, occasionally turning into piercing piglike squeals. This unmistakable sound belongs to the Water Rail. At the time of recording, there were two individuals calling within the vegetation. Sedge Warbler, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Reed Warbler. 2'01"
10 COMMON TOAD Bufo bufo. 20 May 1998, 11.50 pm, Kaavi (Eastern Finland), Niinivaara, the pond of Niskalampi. In May, after the ice has disappeared from lakes and ponds, you can hear something strange if you go out at night. A closer inspection reveals that the dry crunchy noise coming from the water belongs to spawning frogs. The Common Toad prefers to spawn in peaceful ponds or lake coves with relatively deep water by the shore. In this sample, sounds of another group of spawning frogs can be heard from the opposite side of the pond. Black Grouse. 1'07"
11 SOUNDSCAPE #1 2 May 2000, 3.45 am, Kaavi (Eastern Finland), River Vaikkojoki, the ponds of Rakkinelampi. River Vaikkojoki has overflown its banks and flooded a shoreline meadow. The meadow and a few ponds nearby provide an ideal setting for waterfowl and shorebirds to rest and forage. A nightly shower has left the trees lining the flood meadow dripping with water. With the first warm nights of the spring, the frogs are starting to spawn. Common Teal, Common Snipe, Pintail, Green Sandpiper, Eurasian Wigeon, Robin, Song Thrush. 1'53"
12 WHOOPER SWAN Cygnus cygnus. 23 April 2000, 6.55 am, Kuopio (Eastern Finland), the bay of Kaislastenlahti. In April, when lakes remain largely frozen, some open water can already be found by the southern shorelines. A group of Whooper Swans on passage have settled in one of these spots to get some food and rest. While the birds are foraging, a quiet "chatter" can be heard coming from the group. At times the birds get swept away with the thrill of courtship and start frolicking and splashing water, with their display calls ringing in the air. In the background, other birds are giving a concert in a nearby forest. Pied Wagtail, Reed Bunting, Tree Pipit, Redwing, Fieldfare, Common Goldeneye. 2'30"
13 COMMON TERN Sterna hirundo. 17 July 2002, 5.20 am, Kaavi (Eastern Finland), Lake Syrjäjärvi. A group of Common Terns flying lazily around their nesting rocks. While smoothly gliding above the calm water, the birds are calling continuously. For these birds, the summer is already nearing its end and the Common Terns will soon set out on their long journey south. Black-throated Diver. 1'01"
14 MARSH HARRIER Circus aeruginosus. 25 April 1999, 5.05 am, Maaninka (Eastern Finland), Lake Lapinjärvi. Bird lakes lined with large reedbeds are the typical habitat of the Marsh Harrier. This sample contains the rarely heard sound of the female bird at its nest, calling the male with a series of mewing sounds. The male bird usually answers with a high-pitched, piercing peep, not included in this sample. Black-headed Gull, Black Grouse, Reed Bunting, Hooded Crow, Eurasian Curlew. 0'56"
15 SOUNDSCAPE #2 25 June 2001, 2.30 am, Rautalampi (Eastern Finland), Rastunsuo, Lake Lintujärvi. On a midsummer morning, the soundscape of the bird lake is dominated by gulls. In this sample, three species are heard simultaneously. For an experienced bird-watcher, the easiest way to distinguish between the different gulls is by sound. Black-headed Gull, Little Gull, Common Gull, Yellowhammer. 2'58"
16 EURASIAN WIGEON Anas penelope. 26 April 2001, 3.40 am, Rautalampi (Eastern Finland), Rastunsuo, Lake Lintujärvi. In late April, peculiar sounds can be heard around the breeding site of the Eurasian Wigeon, as the male is giving its far-carrying territorial call, sounding like a whiplash. Here the passionately courting male is surrounded by a variety of sounds of the bird lake in the spring night. Common Gull, Moor Frog, Common Goldeneye, Eurasian Curlew, Black Grouse, Whooper Swan, Mallard, Common Teal, Great Crested Grebe. 2'05"
17 GREAT REED WARBLER Acrocephalus arundinaceus. 16 June 2001, 1.20 am, Kuopio (Eastern Finland), Lamperila. A Great Reed Warbler singing within the tall reeds on a well-vegetated pond. The bird climbs up the reedstem while singing. The performance of this nocturnal singer is a combination of coarse wheezing sounds and funny squeaks. Here the compelling notes of the bird resound in the light summer night. Redwing, Reed Bunting, Fieldfare, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Curlew. 2'19"
18 GREAT BITTERN / SOUNDSCAPE Biotaurus stellaris. 9 May 2001, 10.45 pm, Vesanto (Eastern Finland), Sonkari, the bay of Koivulahti. The booms of the Great Bittern coming from within the reedbed can be heard at over 5 kilometres. The call is unmistakable, resembling blowing into an empty bottle. Moor Frog, Common Snipe, Red-necked Grebe, Wood Sandpiper, Great Crested Grebe, Redwing, Common Pochard. 4'17"
19 NORTHERN SHOVELER / SOUNDSCAPE Anas clypeata. 27 April 2001, 4.00 am, Rautalampi (Eastern Finland), Rastunsuo, Lake Lintujärvi. The Northern Shoveler breeds on richly vegetated lakes and coves. In this recording the male is giving soft subdued sounds near the shore, surrounded by a variety of sounds of the awakening bird lake. Northern Lapwing, Moor Frog, Redwing, Mallard, Eurasian Curlew, Eurasian Wigeon, Robin, Common Teal, Song Thrush, Black Grouse, Common Goldeneye. 1'58"
20 SOUNDSCAPE #3 27 April 2001, 4.35 am, Rautalampi (Eastern Finland), Rastunsuo, Lake Lintujärvi. The sound of waterfowl flying above the lake in the hazy morning just before dawn. You can hear the wings of the birds cutting through the air, as they whir by following the shoreline. The bubbling of the Moor Frogs and other sounds of the awakening bird lake provide a vibrant backdrop for the scene. Robin, Song Thrush, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Yellowhammer, Common Gull, Mallard, Black Grouse, Black-headed Gull, Northern Shoveler. 3'28"
21 LITTLE RINGED PLOVER Charadrius dubius. 28 May 2001, 2.30 am, Pori (South-Western Finland), Lake Viasvesi. The Little Ringed Plover breeds on wide sandy or silty shores and other sparsely vegetated open terrain. The display flight of this small plover is characterised by slow wingbeats, frequent changes in direction and swinging the body from side to side. In this sample you can hear a pair of Little Ringed Plovers in a display flight. While in flight, the male emits loud calls, sometimes turning into a clear trill. Common Snipe. 1'47"
22 COMMON GULL Larus canus. 30 May 2001, 2.20 am, Merikarvia, Lake Prinssijärvi. The call of the Common Gull is one of the distinctive sounds of spring. This bird is a common breeder in Lake-Finland - the central part of the country, sprinkled with an untold number of lakes. It is always a joy to hear the first gulls calling in the sky in the spring. Here you can hear the shrieks of a Common Gull wheeling above its nesting lake. The day has yet to break and the spring night is still quiet. Redwing. 1'45"
23 SLAVONIAN GREBE Podiceps auritus. 30 May 2001, 4.05 am, Merikarvia, Lake Prinssijärvi. After the ice has disappeared in spring, the scarce Slavonian Grebe appears on its nesting pond. This beautiful grebe breeds on marshy ponds and coves. This sample includes the territorial calls of a nesting pair, followed by warbling display calls and the characteristic sound from the wings of the birds, as they frolick in the water. Common Chaffinch, Willow Warbler, Black Grouse, Wood Pigeon, Common Pheasant. 1'21"
24 REED BUNTING/SOUNDSCAPE Emberiza schoeniclus. 21 May 2000, 5.20 am, Maaninka (Eastern Finland), the bay of Patalahti. After returning from the south in late March or April, the Reed Buntings settle on their nesting grounds on well-vegetated shore areas. The clear twitter of this black-headed bird is typically heard beside water. The song of the Reed Bunting is quite varied. The short, reeling phrase heard here is somewhat uncharacteristic. Wood Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Whooper Swan, Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Jackdaw, Great Bittern. 1'40"
25 BLACK-HEADED GULL Larus ridibundus. 28 April 2002, 4.30 am, Siilinjärvi (Eastern Finland), Lake Keskimmäinen. In the summer, the Finnish lake landscape is not complete without the characteristic calls of the lively Black-headed Gull. Here a small group of these birds is foraging in the shoreline. Willow Tit, Fieldfare, Redwing. 2'21"
26 LITTLE CRAKE Porzana parva. 10 May 2002, 0.55 am, Varkaus (Eastern Finland), Lake Ruokojärvi. A Little Crake male performing its "display song" from the reedbed of a bird lake. The song of this rare bird consists of a series of funny ´kwak-kwak´ sounds, accelerating and dropping in pitch towards the end. Moor Frog, Sedge Warbler. 4'16"
27 RED-THROATED DIVER Gavia stellata. 6 August 2002, 6.05 am, Kaavi (Eastern Finland), Syrjävaara, Lake Kalaton. The relatively rare Red-throated Diver is most often found on marshy ponds in the wilderness. While nesting on these smaller waters, the birds commonly forage on larger lakes. In this late-summer recording, young Red-throated Divers, already fully-fledged, are flying with their parents above the nesting lake. 1'50"
28 COMMON COOT Fulica atra. 28 April 2002, 7.30 am, Maaninka (Eastern Finland), the bay of Kinnulanlahti. The Common Coot lives on the wide grassy shores of bird lakes. Though it typically hides itself in the reedbed, the bird reveals itself by its call. The repertoire of sounds of this bird ranges from quiet, soft-sounding calls to a variety of metallic screeches. On this track, the birds are chasing each other, calling intensely and splashing water in a territorial dispute. Lapwing, Sky Lark, Common Chaffinch, Black-headed Gull, Eurasian Curlew, Yellowhammer. 1'26"
29 MALLARD / SOUNDSCAPE Anas platyrhynchos. 26 April 2002, 3.45 am, Rautalampi (Eastern Finland), Rastunsuo, Lake Lintujärvi. A group of Mallards during their migration are now resting on the bird lake. The "chattering" of the ducks is heard against the background of a wide variety of sounds of the spring night. Moor Frog, Jack Snipe, Common Snipe, Black-headed Gull, Common Teal, Common Goldeneye, Whooper Swan, Eurasian Curlew, Black Grouse, Robin, Northern Shoveler. 4'04"
30 SOUNDSCAPE #4 29 May 2002, 5.15 am, Karttula (Eastern Finland), Lake Hirvijärvi. A concert of birds in early summer by a lake sprinkled with islands. The patchy, mixed forest standing by the lake is an ideal habitat for a wide variety of birds. Siskin, Tufted Duck, Black Grouse, Wood Warbler, Garden Warbler, Whooper Swan, Common Chaffinch, Blackbird, Redwing. 4'01"
Translated by Kirsi Komonen and Ewen Macdonald 2004