Sounds of April

Nature emerges from its winter quietness

April seems to be the month that nature really begins to emerge from the “quietness” of its winter shell. Plant life responds with new life and the budding process abounds. Bees visit early blossoms and birds sing out their varied songs.

Last year in early April, at the start of lockdown, I began the practice of sketching one emerging bud in the garden each day.

Sketches of emerging buds - Pencil with watercolour wash

This year I have been busy listening to the range of sounds that fill the air. Some, that really represent this month, have proved difficult to capture. I didn’t have my recording equipment the day I sat quietly by the fence and heard the sound of cows munching on fresh grass, having returned to the fields with their new calves. Next time I went out with my recorder, the cows were far away in the valley!

I did, however, create a small soundscape, in an attempt to encapsulate some of the other sounds that typify April. Listening on headphones will give you the full effect, hopefully immersing you in the sense of Spring.

Soundscape of Spring
Apple Tree buds opening – pencil with watercolour wash

See also Photogallery: Buds in Spring

You can hear the audio clips for the first four months of 2021 in:

Sound Calendar

A range of slow listening audio clips from nature

Sounds of March

A regular occurence in March – a gang of frogs appear from nowhere and, for a few weeks, “occupy” the pond in front of Studio Hundy. Their characteristic “croaking” can be heard from afar, as you walk down the garden approaching the pond. As they pick up your presence, this transforms into a multitude of “plopping” sounds as all the frogs dive below the surface. For a few minutes, until they gradually emerge again, the only visual evidence of their presence is the large clumps of spawn laying on, or just below the surface.

I managed to capture the croaking chorus by placing my field recorder on the edge of the pond, hiding in the studio, and using a remote extension. It also captures other characteristic Sounds of March in the background!

Croaking away
The surface tension with the spawn reminds me of mercury

Sounds of February

As the snow and freezing temperatures from the East gradually subided, melt water filled the local brook – the Eden water – bringing some beautiful sights and sounds. A short composite of two field recordings captures the richness of those sounds:

Melt water on Eden

Icicles formed on Alder, growing in abundance on the banks, dipping their branches into the undulating currents of the now fast flowing stream.

Icicles on Eden – Charcoal 2021

Frozen pools on the valley floor created the unique patterns that only nature can offer.

The sound and movement of the water, in the quietness of a cold February day, inspired me to make a short video.

Melt water on Eden

I have experimented here; bringing together the video footage with a multi-layered voice recording and nature sounds. The latter being recorded in situ with my hand-held Zoom H5 audio equipment.