The ten soundscapes in this publication express the joyous tone of the nature of the northern spring. Rapidly changing weather types are a characteristic feature of the spring in this area of the Arctic Circle. When the airflow turns to north, a cold snap can stop the progress of the spring. This does not, however, stop the birds singing. Nesting has to go on and territory has to be defended by singing once this has been started. Track four offers an excellent example of this behaviour: a Karelian Chaffinch (a subspecies of the Chaffinch) singing merrily into the cold gusts of a northerly wind. In the soundscapes of this publication, the tones of water and wind are heard as an authentic entirety accompanied by bird song and entire concerts of birds.
In the mastering of this record I have used a 24-bit production technique. This method has further improved the quality of sound. This made the recorded material sound more natural. The extremely sensitive shades and nuances of the sounds of nature are better heard in the soundscapes.
I want to express my warmest thanks to all of you who have contributed to this recording, birdwatchers, guides and assistants etc. Special thanks to my wife, Maarit, for her help and support.
Kuopio August 6th 2005
Producer / Recording engineer
Track descriptions and background species
01 BLACKBIRD AND AWAKENING FOREST. May 2004. Kristiinankaupunki (Western Finland), Freivilla. The white trunks of birches are highlighted against the dark coniferous forest. The grey boughs of the alders now have branches which are reddening as the catkins have their spring colouring. Swaths of light green hay appear here and there amongst the sun-scorched stubble on the ground. A warm wind blowing from the south has swept the night frost away. The lightness of dawn and the whispers of a southerly zephyr make the awakening forest resound. Common Chaffinch, Yellowhammer, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Siskin, Willow Warbler, Common Wood Pigeon, Common Raven, Black Grouse, Tree Pipit
02 THE DANCE OF THE WHOOPER SWANS BY THE EDGE OF THE ICE. April 2002. Leppävirta (Eastern Finland), Konnus. Ancient birches along the shoreline shade the open water by the inlet of the brook. In the brightness of the morning, the blue waters of the lake still carry the strands of ice. By the southern shores, a narrow strip of open water lines the shoreline. In the shadows the shoreline forest showing off its spring costume is reflected on the unrippled surface of the water. The brilliance of light mirrors the songs of a pair of Whooper Swans playing in the quiet waters of the river. Black-headed Gull, Hooded Crow, European Greenfinch, Common Goldeneye, Common Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit
03 THE MAGIC OF THE SPRING NIGHT IN LAPLAND. May 2004. Savukoski (Forested Lapland), Värriö Seitajärvi. A slowly swimming Goldeneye drake in full dress is reflected in the still water by the edge of the ice. The floodwater laps against the willow bushes on the shoreline. The lakeside landscape in May is shrouded in the pale dusk of the Lapp night. The fleeting summery moments soon to be heralded by the midnight sun are already audible in the songs of the birds in the spring night. Song Thrush, Willow Warbler, Wood Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Bluethroat, Common Snipe, Black Grouse, European Golden Plover
04 KARELIAN CHAFFINCH DURING A COLD SPELL IN SPRING. April 2004. Korppoo (The Archipelago Sea, Southwestern Finland), Jurmo. A cold northerly wind chases the clouds in the slowly lightening dawn. The trees in the forest sway in the gusts of wind. The Chaffinch migrating to its nesting site in the North is seeking shelter in the woods of an island. On the lowest branches in the forest, the bird strikes up a melodic spring song ignoring the cold wind. Fieldfare, Song Thrush.
05 SPRING MORNING IN THE WOODS OF LAPLAND. May 2004. Pelkosenniemi (Forested Lapland), Aapajärvi, Puljunpalon lammet. A small pond in the wilderness by a few pine trees surrounded by a wide aapa mire is glowing in the rays of the rising sun. In spring, the area is already free from its burden of snow, but the centre of the pond is still covered by dark ice. On the bank of the pond, on the trunk of a tilted dead standing pine, a watchful Great Spotted Woodpecker is guarding its territory. Over the aapa mire, a snow-capped mountain which is dimly seen in the far distance, is outlined against the dark blue shimmering horizon. The northern wilderness with its coniferous forests swells with the sounds of courtship. Common Greenshank, Black Grouse, Common Raven, Common Redstart, Crossbill SP, Whimbrel, Willow Ptarmigan, Common Snipe, Wood Sandpiper, Redwing, Eurasian Wryneck, Common Redpoll.
06 DAWN ON A ROCKY ISLET. April 2004. Kristiinankaupunki (Western Finland). Out in the open sea, a small rocky islet juts out of the sea. A gentle breeze from the south drives the waves against the rocky shore polished smooth by the pack ice. In the middle of the rocky islet, at its apex, three pines lashed by the wind are sheltering the birds on the rocky islet and guarding the peace of the sea. Lesser Black-backed Gull, Northern Wheatear, Herring Gull, Arctic Tern, White Wagtail, Mew Gull, Eurasian Oystercatcher.
07 SPRING MIGRATION OF THRUSHES AND WAXWINGS. April 2002. Leppävirta (Eastern Finland), Konnus. A forested isthmus of land surrounded by lakes is a welcome resting place for migrating birds. The sheltered forest on the shoreline is filled with songs of migrating birds. The fresh earthy scent of spring fills the air from the roots of trees where the snow has melted. The burgeoning buds on the curved birch branches by the lakeside are covered with waterdrops. Fieldfare, Redwing, Herring Gull, Mallard, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Common Chaffinch, Black-headed Gull, Common Redpoll.
08 BLACK GROUSES SINGING IN THE DEPTHS OF AAPA MIRES. May 2003. Savukoski (Forested Lapland), Mukkavaara. The magical light of a spring night in Lapland lingers over a wide open mire. A snowdrift which has been levelled by the wind covers the area. Here and there a grey dead standing tree lifts its gnarled branches towards the sky. The gentle glow on the northeastern horizon heralds the first moments of dawn. The silence of the mire is shattered by a screech from the depths of the wilderness. Replies immediately echo from many different directions. After a while the wings of a male Black Grouse are whistling through the air. The intense drama of the spring morning: the struggle of Blackcocks for courtship supermacy is about to start.
09 MORNING WIND BLOWING AGAINST A WOODED SHORELINE. May 2003. Rantasalmi (Eastern Finland), Tuusmäki, Hakojärvi. On a spring night, a wind is still unsure of its direction but in the small hours after midnight it has decided to blow from the west. Small ripples created by the breeze splash against the shore of the lake. The quiet background of the wind in the wooded shoreline accompanies the birds' song. Common Chaffinch, Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Common Cuckoo, Dunnock, Lesser Whitethroat, European Robin, Crossbill SP, Garden Warbler, Willow Tit.
10 EARLY SUMMMER IN A GROVE. June 2003. Rantasalmi (Eastern Finland), Tuusmäki. At the end of May, when the birches are still budding, the songbirds have already found their way to their nesting places. A pair of Starlings which started their nesting in April are already feeding their young. A Garden Warbler is back from its long spring migration and has been enlivening the soundscape of the grove with its song for the past couple of days. A chilly morning wind gusting from the northeast is whistling in the birch tops. The lingering light of this early summer morning in the North is the inspiration of the birds' choral tribute. Fieldfare, Willow Warbler, Common Starling, Common Cuckoo, Common Wood Pigeon, Garden Warbler, Black Grouse, Common Chaffinch, Willow Tit, Whooper Swan, European Greenfinch.
Translated by Airi MacDonald and Ewen MacDonald 2004