Sounds of September

Honks, barks, and cackles – heralding autumn

Cooler days have arrived and there is a definite autumnal feel in the air. The regular sight and sound of skeins of geese has now started. It is an indication that summer is truly over. These flypasts will become a more frequent occurrence, louder and with greater numbers, as we enter into October. Sometimes the geese fly in their characteristic V formation at a distance, to the north or south of our house, and occasionally (if we are lucky) immediately overhead.

Skein of Geese – watercolour sketch 2021

I have wanted to record the very particular “calling” sound of these birds for some time now, and was fortunate enough to have my sound gear at the ready this year.

I was also interested to visit a local loch where, I was told, the geese often congregate in the evening. So at the weekend we walked to Hule Loch, located on exposed moorland between Greenlaw and Duns. Sitting in the small hide we were able to take in the panoramic view of the loch, its multiplicity of birds and the surrounding hills. The colours and light changed so dramatically during the short time we were there, as the wind blew, the rain came in from the west and cleared again.

Although the sound of the wind was quite dominant inside the hide, I was able to capture several minutes of audio to bring back to Studio Hundy.

I have created a September sound piece encompassing 3 phases: over our house – a large skein flying in from the east and away to the west; from the hide – a small group of birds on the loch taking flight; and finally (also from the hide) – a large skein of geese coming in to land.

Geese soundscape

The latter was a fascinating occurence as the large cluster of birds seemed to ungainly drop down onto the surface of the water in a random manner, like some kind of precipitation out of the sky! As they landed onto the water their “cries” diminished, until eventually the loud cacophony of sound gave way to an occasional “squawk” or honk.

It’s a sharp sound to listen to, and at the same time incredibly beautiful – also so unmistakable!

Geese in flight (pastel) – sketchbook 2012

You can listen to the audio clips for the months to date of 2021 in:

Sound Calendar

A range of slow listening audio clips from nature