The audio journal about getting into the wilderness.
The WildeBeat edition 147: Bagganing Wild Sounds, part 1
This is a supplementary transcript of our audio program. CLICK HERE to listen to the original program, and see the associated show notes.
You've got to be totally quiet; stand like a statue. And then, if you're in the right place at the right time, you'll capture your sound. This week on The WildeBeat; Bagging Soundscapes, part 1
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News from the Wildebeat, the audio journal about getting into the wilderness.
This is program number one forty-seven.
I'm Steve Sergeant.
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STEVE: Naturalist Bernie Krause is quoted as saying, 'While a picture is worth a thousand words, a sound is worth a thousand pictures.' When it comes to wild places, this philosophy inspires some of us to close our eyes and listen. That's a goal of the non-profit Nature Sounds Society. Dan Dugan is their technical advisor.
DAN DUGAN: ...Our main event is our annual field recording workshop that's usually, but not always, held at the San Francisco State University Field Station at Yuba Pass at the end of June, and we also have occasional recording outings that we'll organize, and we have an annual tech talk, which is sort of an ...introduction to the workshop.
STEVE: Assistant producer Kate Taylor and I attended the annual field recording workshop of the Nature Sounds Society. And Kate is here with me. Welcome to the WildeBeat, Kate.
KATE: Hi, Thanks Steve.
STEVE: And thanks for joining us. You have prepared a piece about our experiences up there ...and first of all what were your impressions overall of the place that we visited?
KATE: Well, it was beautiful, both in sound and in sight. It was kind of like a community of tents and cabins with the main meeting place, of course, being the dining hall.
STEVE: And you had a room mate up there. Who was your room mate?
KATE: My room mate was Gina Farr, and she lives in Marin County, and she produces web-based environmental multimedia.
GINA FARR: I was talking to an ornithologist and I asked him, "Where are the best birds in the whole world?" And he said, "Well, everyone has a different opinion, and some people think it's the Sierras." So I thought I'd come up here and record some beautiful birds in the Sierras.
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KATE: It's five forty five in the morning, and we're here in Sierra Valley where we've just set-up our recording equipment. We got up at three A-M to drive down here. It's still pretty dark, and right now we're just waiting for the animals to wake up and hopefully we'll capture their sounds on our recording equipment.
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KATE: We've driven down the road a little ways, and we're at an old bridge now, where swallows are diving and swooping and there must be hundreds of the feeding on insects that inhabit the marsh underneath the bridge.
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GINA FARR: We were near some Tulles and some water and sage, so I got a lot of water birds, ducks, ...got a wonderful Virginia Rail and Yellow-headed Cowbirds, Yellow-headed Blackbirds.
KATE: Chris Bell is an artist and a museum proprietor from Sydney, Australia. And this was his first Nature Sounds Society workshop.
CHRIS BELL: I'm totally self-taught, and a lot of the reason why I wanted to come here was to pick the brains and get some wisdom from experts, and find out just how amateur I am.
KATE: Some people were there just for fun, others do this for a living.
GINA FARR: I'm hoping to come home with about an hour's worth of Sierra spring birds.
MARTYN STEWART: Well I get sent out on various locations all over the world.
KATE: Martyn Stewart works for the B-B-C. He's from Scotland and and he gets shipped off all over the world to record various sounds from different animals that the B-B-C nature department might need.
MARTYN STEWART: I get backpacked off to various countries to record... To date, probably done thirty-three, thirty-four countries... The last project I was on was in Puerto Rico recording bats. I have about three hundred bats recorded in the world out of a thousand, so I've been trying to find bat recordings, and on top of that all the endemics of Puerto Rico; there's probably fourteen endemic species of birds in Puerto Rico, like the Puerto Rican Tanager and the Puerto Rican Screech Owl and all those, so that's that's the last lot I was working on... When I was eleven...I used to love the sounds that the insects made; so I used to get jar and collect flies, hover flies and all sorts of stuff that buzzed, and put the tin and the lid back on the jar and punch holes into it and then listen to it, and I thought this is just a fantastic world... As I got older my brother was in this rock band that he believed he could sing as well- as well as play his guitar — so I loaned or stole his mic off him; and and I went with off with the recorder and I was recording these insect sounds, and I just fascinated by it.
STEVE: Martyn Stewart got an early start collecting wild sounds. But what are these other people going to do with their sounds? And, what are they learning by recording these sounds that you need to know? Please listen again next week for part two. We'll hear more from the workshop participants, and play more sounds from the field.
STEVE: As a free, listener-supported service, we depend on you to help support our work. You can help by making a tax-deductible annual membership donation to our project. Membership levels start at sixteen dollars a year, and full membership is forty eight. For a limited time, become a WildeBeat member and get a weekend's worth of meals from Alpine Aire foods, books from Wilderness Press, access to bonus audio content, and more, as thank you gifts.
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Our official website is WWW dot WILDEBEAT (that's W-I-L-D-E-B-E-A-T) dot NET. If we helped you get into the wilderness, could you help us do the same for others? Please click on our support link and become a member. The WildeBeat is produced by Steve Sergeant, with help from Jean Higham and Kate Taylor, as a nonprofit educational project of Earth Island Insitute.
This has been The WildeBeat, program number one forty seven. Thank you for listening.
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Next time -- More Bagging Wild Sounds.