Friday, July 04, 2014

Loon Song

Last month I was in the state of Maine, birding the rich forests and sound recording wood-warblers, thrushes, and loons. Depending on which side of the pond you're on, the Common Loon or Great Northern Diver (Gavia immer) has vocalisations often described as haunting, evocative, even eerie. Its always been one of my favourite sounds in nature though until now I had never had the opportunity to hear it in the wild. On this trip I heard them calling from my tent at night and I can certainly attest to the previous adjectives! 

Kidney Pond, Baxter State Park, Maine, USA 45° 53' 34.8" N 69° 02' 52.5" W 26 June 2014 
Wail from a single bird [File name: commonloonLS112810e] 

Getting a nice recording was difficult because from the lake shores I encountered a nocturnal chorus from American Bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus) which by comparison to the beautiful vocals of the loon, is just horrible to my ears. Below is the best I could get with a pair duetting with wails then tremelos.

Wails from single Common Loon, Webb Lake, Maine, US.

Wails from a pair of Common Loons, Webb Lake, Maine, US.

Tremelo duet from Common Loons, Webb Lake, Maine, US.

Fans of electronic music will remember the classic loon sample in 808 State's track Pacific State.