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 Post subject: The Sounds of Nature
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 3:33 pm 
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If I ever had to come up with an alternate board name I'd probably call myself "Bombadil in Suburbia". Not only does that have some lovely "B" sounds in it, it also describes where I've lived most of my life.

I spent most of my formative years (from 5 1/2 to nearly 25) in Walnut Creek, a suburb of Oakland, California. Walnut Creek was once full of walnut orchards, I'm told, but when we moved there in 1967 it was a sleepy little town. There's nothing sleepy about it anymore. :shock:

Still, my folks' place is still surrounded by a bit of nature. They get lots of birds and squirrels in their yard--putting out feed and nuts might have something to do with that ( ;) )--and they get other sorts of critters tromping through their property in the wee hours of the morning.

My folks used to have a small stream that ran between their property and the one behind them. In the Spring during frog mating season the evenings would be filled with choruses of frogs merrily chirping away. It was quite loud, but it didn't bother us. In fact, I quite enjoyed it. After many years, however, I think the city/county ran some underground pipe or some such to mitigate the potential for mosquitio-born diseases. (Prior to that they'd always come out and spray.)

In suburban Sacramento where I live we get some birds--crows, robins, jays, and, before the West Nile Virus wiped them out, yellow-billed magpies--but we don't get much in the way of song birds. I really miss hearing birds chirping in the morning so I decided to do something about it. No, I didn't build an aviary, instead I went the easy route and bought some environmental recordings. :D

I've started with two, Sounds of the Earth: Morning Birds, and Sounds of the Earth: Forest. They arrived yesterday afternoon, and both are very enjoyable. I surprised my wife and put "Birds" on while she was still in bed, hoping she'd be able to hear them. Thankfully, her reaction was favorable. :)

I have "Frogs" and "Rain in the Country" from the same series on my wish list at Amazon.com. I'll probably buy those, too. I know my wife does not care for storms and wind, so I'll steer clear of those.

Does anybody else yearn for the sounds of nature in their daily lives?

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 12:14 am 
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Sounds of nature go with sights and smell. :)

At this time of year, when I watch the leaves fall, part of me is comforted that for the temporary loss of them I get those beautiful colours and ravishing scents - but then it sometimes gives me a tight, panicky feeling to think that soon there won't be any rustling of leaves for almost half a year!

The same pain comes in July, when the songbirds stop.
I usually wait for it to happen, fearfully. I'll go to hear if they're still there, and if they are, a sigh of relief - one more day of song. But then, at some point, you go out at dusk and it's silent.

But, luckily, it also goes the other way round. :D
Some chilly day in February, when you've half forgotten there are such things as green leaves and warm sunshine - a blackbird bursts into evensong. And you know that spring is on the way already.

I've often thought I should get such a CD as well - the only bird I can recognise by its song is the blackbird. (Well, and the less melodious birds, of course. ;) ) But I couldn't tell a redbreast from a titmouse, for example. And most of the time, the sound is all you get, the bird remains unseen.

But I think blackbirds are my favourites. They have real tunes in store, and they are the first in the morning and the last in the evening.

On a May or June morning, when it's a really mild night, so that the air is gentle and balmy on the skin, and filled with scent of lilac, and the first blackbird starts his tune, and one after another the others join in until they are in full chorus - that's so beautiful it physically hurts. :)

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but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 2:09 am 
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What a lovely idea for a thread, Tom!

hobby, :love:

We don't have melodic songbirds in the area around our house—we have crows. But the wind in the leaves on a warm summer evening is almost as good. We sit on the back porch, looking up at our huge old oak silhouetted against the western sky, the warm wind rustling in the leaves like gentle breathing. . . . We have a pond that trickles water, and the neighbors over the way have wind chimes. I like wind chimes if they're tuneful, and these are, but where I really like them is on someone else's back porch, so on mine I can enjoy the other sounds, too.

All spring and summer, Canada geese fly directly over our house every morning and evening between the water they like for daytime and the places where they sleep. Their sound is not beautiful, a hoarse, muffled wibble wibble, but their V-shaped flight is lovely against the morning and evening sky, and the sound warms my heart.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 4:27 am 
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truehobbit wrote:
I've often thought I should get such a CD as well - the only bird I can recognise by its song is the blackbird. (Well, and the less melodious birds, of course. ;) ) But I couldn't tell a redbreast from a titmouse, for example. And most of the time, the sound is all you get, the bird remains unseen.

I have to admit that there are very few birds I'm able to tell by their call, but there are a few.

Crows have a very familiar "caw, caw" that's hard to miss. Mockingbirds are very familiar to me because they frequently change their calls that mimic other birds. I've even heard them imitate frogs and car alarms. Yes, the Canada Geese "honking" as they pass overhead on their way north or south (depending on the time of year) are very distinctive. I rather enjoy them, too, Prim.

Jays have a distinctive squawk that's rather harsh and unpleasant. Mourning doves, on the other hand, have a plaintive sort of cooing that's somehow very soothing and comforting. There was a hawk's nest near where we used to live by the American River. It was quite loud, and not very pleasant.

Goldberry and I played the two CDs I purchased a number of times on Wednesday. We enjoyed them so much that I ordered the frogs and country rain CDs. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 7:20 pm 
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On Christmas Eve we hosted dinner for my brother-in-law, his fiancée, and their very active 8-month old daughter. Rather than play Christmas music that might be a bit jangley to the nerves, I thought the nature sounds CDs might serve as a white noise in the background to keep things on the calm side. They seemed to be very effective, even if it was the wrong time of year for frogs and the wrong time of day for morning birds. :P

For Christmas my older brother gave me Whispering Woods from Dan Gibson's "Exploring Nature with Music" series. It features instruments (guitar and/or keyboard) with nature sounds (birds, frogs, water). I've been enjoying listening to it the past two days at work. :)

The frogs on track 5, "Forever Green", sounded particularly familiar. In fact, they sounded just like the frogs I heard in my youth in Walnut Creek. Sure enough, I checked the CD insert where it listed "Pacific Tree Frog". I know the frog where I grew up were tree frogs, so I'm pretty certain that these must be the same type or a close relative.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 7:51 pm 
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My parents' first parsonage in southeastern Idaho, where they lived when I was born, had a bare dirt floor in the basement. When the local farmers irrigated their fields the water table would rise, sometimes flooding the basement, and my parents would relax in the evening to the sound of frog calls drifting up from downstairs (and the faint clink of floating coal washed out of the extinguished furnace).

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 8:08 pm 
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Primula Baggins wrote:
My parents' first parsonage in southeastern Idaho, where they lived when I was born, had a bare dirt floor in the basement. When the local farmers irrigated their fields the water table would rise, sometimes flooding the basement, and my parents would relax in the evening to the sound of frog calls drifting up from downstairs (and the faint clink of floating coal washed out of the extinguished furnace).


:shock: :shock: :rofl: :rofl:

OMG< Prim, my mom would have had ten thousand FITS!! Frogs in the basement! (And I would have been down there for hours, trying to catch them.... :blackeye: )

I like where I live now. I am right across the road from a stream that has water clean enough to support fish and frogs. I even get the odd Blue Heron dropping by to fish. I have a huge weeping willow tree in the backyard, and love the sound of the wind whispering through its branches. In summer, there is the sweet scent of my roses, and mint, thyme and lemon balm. The tree attracts numerous birds, and I hear all the common ones on a fairly regular basis (cardinal, robin, blue jay, crow, grackles, red-winged black bird, house finch, etc.)

Canada geese are really common here, and I love to hear them 'talk' to each other as they fly over. You frequently see flocks of them grazing in the fields, which are not too far away. The town of Markham municipal offices have a large pond on the grounds, and the geese nest there every year (they've had to start to do population control, and find ways of 'sterilizing' the eggs before they hatch.) There are fields on the other side of th Highwyay 7. Sometimes Mom and Dad decide to take the youngsters over there to graze. This means I've occasionally been treated to the sight of Mom and Dad with perhaps a dozen downy youngsters in between, stopping SIX lanes of traffic as they make their way across the highway.

The odd goose winds up as roadkill, but generally they're pretty smart about traffic. The town has put up warning signs, too.

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When the night has been too lonely, and the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows,
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love, in the spring becomes The Rose.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:27 pm 
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The song I wait for is the Spring Peepers, the frogs that must be in their millions up by the pond. A sure sign of Spring and a song I love.

We used to get the odd frog in our basement, years ago. It would croak in the late fall, on to winter. Then the croaks became weaker and farther apart and the frog would have . . . . um . . . . well, jeez, the durned frog would be dead, guyz. Sorry. But the thing is, I would look and look and look for the silly frogs, hoping to find him (only one at a time, apparently) and put him outdoors. But I never found a living frog, only twice I found dead frogs, dried out. :( Mummified, actually. :shock:

A field near us is full of Canada geese at this time of year, gleaning after the farmer has taken off his crop: and his two huge big fat shining white domestic geese are always out there, visiting with the Canada geese. It is quite the neato picture. Imagine their conversations!!!

Canada geese sometimes fly so low over our farm that you can hear the whoosh, whoosh sound of their wings. A wonderful sound.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:47 pm 
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Vison, I love Spring peepers, too! Their latin name, Hyla crucifer means 'the cross bearer' as they have a big 'x' on their backs. From a distance, a chorus of peepers sounds like sleigh bells.

We also have gray tree frogs here (actually, the ones I've seen are usually green) and Lidless's and Estel's place in Florida had HUGE Cuban tree frogs!


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Hey, lookit what I found on my walk around the block! :) (NEVER let a former biology teacher loose in a new ecosystem...she WILL find stuff that fascinates her, but not necessarily you...)

Image

Ooops. Wonder if Lidless and Estel ever knew about this? :D:D

Image

Gray tree frog, in my kitchen. He was NOT a co-operative subject!

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When the night has been too lonely, and the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows,
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love, in the spring becomes The Rose.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 10:00 pm 
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Oh, cool! Wikipedia has a link where you can listen to the spring peeper in full chorus!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_peepers

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When the night has been too lonely, and the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows,
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love, in the spring becomes The Rose.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 10:47 pm 
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We don't get a lot of frogs here - sunny, those pics are so cute! :love:
But I'm not sure I'd want to have them living in the basement! :shock:

Soooo - sounds of this time of the year - it's not a sound we get here often, but does anyone else swoon for the sound of walking on fresh snow? :love:

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Eine Blume der Asche meines Herzens


but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 12:06 am 
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Crump, crump, crump:love:

All too rare here as well, especially lately.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 12:08 am 
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When it's REALLY cold, it squeeaaaksk!

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When the night has been too lonely, and the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows,
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love, in the spring becomes The Rose.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 12:12 am 
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I have fallen in love with the sound of sandhill cranes.

I cannot wait to make the journey to see them again in the spring.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 9:53 pm 
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A week before Christmas, we were driving home from visiting my mom-in-law. The hubby put the car radio on, and there was a programme where people could call and wish for the song of some bird that they wanted to hear. There were a few that I'd never heard because those species don't live in my part of the country, like the White-throated Dipper (northern species) and the Golden Oriole (most abundant in the east), and even the familiar ones made me think of spring and early summer, when there's quite a concert. 8)

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Love the world as your self;
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