My first recording expedition to the Gulf of Bothnia took place in June, 1997. I did not understand then how challenging a task it would be to make this recording. First I had to find the recording subjects and the peaceful conditions for the recording, and it took three years before I actually managed to make the first successful recording. Many times the unpredictable wind conditions at the recording sites forced me to stop recording. The local ornithologists informed me of the courtship sites of the rare nesting species. With their help and guidance, I found unique recording situations. One of these recordings is the charmingly distinctive courtship of the Common Shelduck.
In this recording, the birds living in bays, islands and rocky islets are heard in their own habitats. The scenic recordings deliver the seaside atmosphere in a genuine and rich manner. In the production of this record I have used a 24-bit production technique, which makes the quality of sound more accurate and natural than before. In general, making this recording was a real pleasure. In particular, the many field trips into natural habitats, the deep peace of the mornings and the melodic clarity of the songs are etched into my memories. My warmest thanks to friends, assistants, guides, birdwatchers and all of you who have contributed to this recording. Heartfelt thanks to my wife Maarit for her support.
Kuopio, 21 September 2005
Producer / Recording engineer
Track descriptions and background species
01 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus fuscus. 1 May 2004, 7.05 am. Kristiinankaupunki (Western Finland), Siipyy, Storbådan. The Lesser Black-backed Gull bears a resemblance to the Great Black-backed Gull but is much smaller in size. This gull bird builds its nest on barren rocky islets and seashores but also on inland waters. It is possible to recognize the bird by its call, since a trained ear can distinguish the call of the Lesser Black-backed Gull from the calls of other gull species. This gull has many different types of "kaoo-kaoo" calls. They also make series of "kha-ga-ga" sounds of varying lengths. This recording was made of a small colony of Lesser Black-backed Gulls on an outlying islet. Of these birds, three types of those sounds described above can be heard. Common Gull. 3'28''
02 SOUNDSCAPE 1 27 May 2001, 4.15 am. Pori (Western Finland), Preiviki, Kalaranta. A still and wide bay basks in the light of dawn. Birds migrating north are resting in the shelter of the bay. For those shore birds which are starting to nest, it is a time for morning courtship. Great Tit, Black Grouse, Common Redshank, Common Pheasant, Hooded Crow, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Wood Pigeon, Goosander. 4'25''
03 LITTLE TERN Sterna albifrons. 2 July 2001, 0.30 am. Kalajoki (Western Finland), Letonnokka. The Little Tern is a rarity on the Gulf of Bothnia. This small tern nests in colonies on dry and sparsely vegetated beaches. It is easy to recognize the Little Tern by its nasal tone. The sound is frail and mingles seamlessly into the soundscape of the shore. Common Gull, Black-headed Gull. 3'58''
04 CANADA GOOSE / SOUNDSCAPE Branta canadensis. 5 May 2004, 4.20 am. Kristiinankaupunki (Western Finland), Skaftung, Ragneskärsfjärden. Migrating terns and other birds have occupied the bird bay which is now free from ice. This sheltered, shallow bay is a welcome nesting habitat for the Canada Goose. The melodic honking of this bird resembles the call of the Whooper Swan. In this recording, the honking of the geese which have settled on their nesting grounds can clearly be distinguished as a part of the soundscape. Common Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Redshank, Arctic Tern, Robin, Redwing, Herring Gull. 4'20'
05 EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER / SOUNDSCAPE Haematopus ostralegus. 1 May 2004, 5.00 am. Kristiinankaupunki (Western Finland), Siipyy, Storbådan. The Eurasian Oystercatchers which have migrated from behind the blue waters of the open sea in the south enliven the bays and the labyrinths formed by the islands with their perky behaviour. The "kee-pit, kee-pit" sound clearly emitted from their carrot bills can be readily heard above the crashing waves. In the soundscape, a solitary bird arrives from the sea and circles above a rocky islet. Lesser Black-backed Gull, Arctic Tern. 2'04''
06 COMMON REDSHANK Tringa totanus. 27 May 2001, 4.15 am. Pori (Western Finland), Preiviki, Kalaranta. The melodically fierce whistle of the Common Redshank carries far along the shore. The bird's singing courtship call is a characteristic sound in the landscape. This long-legged wader has a wide repertoire to its courtship songs. The bird's alarm call is striking with short syllables. Reed Warbler, Common Pheasant, Black-headed Gull, Common Bullfinch, Hooded Crow, Common Gull. 2'58''
07 HERRING GULL / SOUNDSCAPE Larus argentatus. 21 April 2001, 8.03 am. Pori (Western Finland), Kuuminainen. The Herring Gull nests in colonies on the outlying islets of the sea, but it can also be commonly seen inland. The call of this large gull has a nasal tone and it is strikingly loud. This recording was made at the point of a cape reaching far out to the sea, and the birds are calling in flight as they pass the recording site along the shoreline. Song Thrush, Common Eider, Common Chaffinch, Black-headed Gull, Eurasian Curlew. 1'56''
08 MUTE SWAN Cygnus olor. 19 June 2002, 4.10 am. Pori (Western Finland), Preiviki, Preivikinlahti. Nesting Mute Swans can be seen as far north as the Vaasa - Umeå -line on the Gulf of Bothnia, but further north they are a rarity. When the sea is calm, this large, white bird can be heard from quite a distance when it takes wing from the water. In the recording, the characteristic sounds of the birds can be heard in the reeds. Common Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Chaffinch, Garden Warbler. 2'07''
09 CASPIAN TERN / SOUNDSCAPE Sterna caspia. 1 May 2004, 7.40 am. Kristiinankaupunki (Western Finland), Siipyy, Storbådan. One peculiarity of the Caspian Tern is its characteristic sound. The presence of this large and almost all-white tern can best be detected by its harsh sound. There can be quite a racket on the terns' nesting colony on the islet. In this soundscape, one solitary bird is circling above the islet. Common Eider, Arctic Tern, Pied Wagteil, Common Gull. 1'49''
10 COMMON RINGED PLOVER Charadrius hiaticula. 26 May 2002, 8.35 pm. Siilinjärvi (Eastern Finland), Raasio. The Common Ringed Plovers which nest on the Gulf of Bothnia, prefer open, shallow and mostly sandy shores as their habitat. The bird can best be distinguished by its sound which is easy to recognize. The soft-toned call of this wader is a repetitive "tyour-lee". Also the courtship calls of the bird are easy to recognize. They are distinctive series of "kveetu-veeu" sounds. The recording was made inland near the waders' ringing station, in the nesting habitat of the Common Ringed Plover. Little Gull, Sand Martin, Common Crane, Common Redshank. 2'18''
11 GOOSANDER / SOUNDSCAPE Mergus merganser. 27 May 2001, 4.45 am. Pori (Western Finland), Preiviki, Preivikinlahti. The courtship of the Goosanders on the bay. The cock Goosanders calling further away on the bay evoke the response call from the female bird swimming nearer to the shore. Great Tit, Black Grouse, Common Cuckoo, Common Redshank, Hooded Crow, Reed Bunting, Black-headed Gull, Common Pheasant, Common Chaffinch, Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler, Common Gull, Wood Pigeon. 4'39''
12 COMMON EIDER / SOUNDSCAPE Somateria mollissima. 30 April 2004, 5.20 am. Kristiinankaupunki (Western Finland), Skaftung, Trutklobbarna. One fundamental component of the seaside atmosphere in coastal regions in the spring is the sound of the nesting Common Eiders. The courtship song of the male Common Eider is dark and low, a kind of rolling "whoo-ooh". The female birds make more modest sounds like clucking. The recording was made on the shore of an island where also gulls, waders and other shorebirds, in addition to the Common Eiders, were starting to nest. Common Gull, Whooper Swan, Black-headed Gull, Common Ringed Plover, Eurasian Curlew, Common Greenshank, Common Teal, Mallard, Common Redshank, Reed Bunting, Herring Gull. 4'04''
13 GADWALL Anas strepera. 12 May 2005, 4.10 am. Estonia, Matsalu. The Gadwall is something of a rarity, only occasionally does it nest by the Gulf of Bothnia. Being a timid water bird by nature, it is difficult to get close enough to verify the nesting of this species. The spring song of this bird sounds like joyful laughing, creaking and whistling. In this recording, made in Estonia, Matsalu the birds are playing on their nesting pond in the early dawn. Sky Lark, Mallard. 2'56''
14 SOUNDSCAPE 2 2 July 2001, 1.05 am. Kalajoki (Western Finland), Letonnokka. The sounds of the night on an open beach by the sea. The Little Terns are nursing their nestlings in the twilight of the summer night. Further away in the background, a colony of Black-headed Gulls are making sounds, altogether about 3000 birds are nesting in the colony. Little Tern, Black-headed Gull, Arctic Tern, Common Redshank, Common Gull. 4'01''
15 ARCTIC TERN Sterna paradisaea. 1 May 2004, 8.15 am. Kristiinankaupunki (Western Finland), Siipyy, Storbådan. The Arctic Tern nests commonly in the coastal area of the Gulf of Bothnia. Inland, the species nests on the clear waters of ponds and lakes in Forested and Fell Lapland. The clear tunes of this lively little bird can soar above the noisy seascape. The sounds made by the Arctic Tern consist of sharp tick-like and stretched "keeer" sounds and other series of sounds of varying lengths. Herring Gull, Pied Wagtail. 5'38''
16 ARCTIC SKUA Stercorarius parasiticus. 1 August 2003, 4.10 am. Kalajoki (Western Finland), Letonnokka. The Arctic Skua, this superb aviator with its sharp wingbeats, is one of the many seabirds which nest on the Gulf of Bothnia. The sounds of the Arctic Skua are many and varied. When playing in flight, the birds make tight series of sounds of varying lengths. Generally the birds repeat a kind of meowing cry. This species can also make series of meowing sounds. The sample was recorded on an open shallow beach, a favoured habitat of these birds, where the sandbanks emerge from the shore waters. Black-headed Gull, Little Tern. 2'00''
17 GREYLAG GOOSE / SOUNDSCAPE Anser anser. 23 April 2005, 5.00 am. Pori (Western Finland), Preiviki, Kalaranta. The far reaching nasal honking of the Greylag Geese creates a seaside atmosphere into the soundscape of the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia. In this recording, a crisp spring morning freshened by a night frost resounds with songs from the forested seashore. Common Chaffinch, Common Gull, Canada Goose, Song Thrush, Black-headed Gull, Whooper Swan, Tufted Duck, Hooded Crow, Reed Bunting, Great Tit, Yellowhammer. 4'03''
18 TUFTED DUCK / SOUNDSCAPE Aythya fuligula. 28 May 2001, 6.10 am. Pori (Western Finland), Preiviki, Preivikinlahti. Sparkle of a spring morning on the shore of a sheltered bay. The Tufted Ducks have arrived at their habitual nesting shore. A small flock of Tufted Ducks playing in the shore waters enliven the landscape with their clicking sounds. Common Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Common Pheasant, Common Gull. 2'29''
19 COMMON SHELDUCK Tadorna tadorna. 30 April 2004, 5.50 am. Kristiinankaupunki (Western Finland), Skaftung, Trutklobbarna. The Common Shelduck has brightly coloured plumage and is the size of a small goose. The Common Shelduck is a sea bird with a timid nature. The calling tone of this rare duck is a sound which resembles a harsh laughing quack. A whistling "song" can also be emitted by this species. In this sample, both sounds can be heard. The recording was made in the nesting habitat of the birds, on a small and shallow island. Common Eider, Common Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Redshank. 2'14''
20 RUDDY TURNSTONE Arenaria interpres. 3 July 2001, 4.15 am. Kalajoki (Western Finland). The Ruddy Turnstone can best be recognized by its call. The squeaking "viti-viti-vitititi" song is so original that one cannot mistake it for any other species. In this recording, the bird is hopping along the shore silt washed by the waves, occasionally bursting into song lively. Common Gull. 3'08''
21 GREATER SCAUP / SOUNDSCAPE Aythya marila. 3 May 2004, 5.20 am. Pori (Western Finland), Preiviki, Preivikinlahti. The Greater Scaup is a rare species which nests along the seashores of the archipelago and on the grassy lakes in Fell Lapland. It has a very special courtship call. The "courtship song" of the drake is quiet, a kind of sniffling. The response of the female bird resembles the call of the Tufted Duck. Both sounds from this species can be heard in the soundscape of this recording. Arctic Tern, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull. 2'52''
22 GREAT CORMORANT Phalacrocorax carbo. 16 May 2005, 4.10 am. Lithuania, Kuurinkynnäs, Juodrante. A couple of decades ago the Great Cormorant was a rarity along the Gulf of Bothnia. During the past few years, the nesting population has greatly increased. This pelican bird nests in colonies and builds its nest in trees. This black elongated bird can make many sounds. This recording made in Lithuania consists of the calls of a nesting colony of 2000 birds. The calls which dominate the recording are the begging cries of the nestlings. Song Thrush. 4'59''
23 SOUNDSCAPE 3 19 June 2002, 5.10 am. Pori (Western Finland), Preiviki, Preivikinlahti. A grassy seashore waking up into a summer morning in the still brilliance of the dawn. The birds' song from the shoreline grove merges with the waterbirds' song from the reeds. Black-headed Gull, Common Chaffinch, Common Gull, Mute Swan, Willow Warbler, Common Whitethroat. 4'28''
24 GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL Larus marinus. 1 May 2004, 7.30 am. Kristiinankaupunki (Western Finland), Siipyy, Storbådan. Impressive in size, the Great Black-backed Gull is a sturdy, dark-backed seabird. The nesting habitat of this large gull is close to the open sea, mainly on rocky islets jutting out of the sea. The call of the Great Black-backed Gull resembles that of the Herring Gull and the Lesser Black-backed Gull, but it is lower and harsher. 2'21''
Translated by Airi MacDonald and Ewen MacDonald 2005