Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 45: No Juice

Peters Hill, Arnold Arboretum, JP, MA, 6:25am-7:30am
wisps of clouds, frosty

It's an early sunrise, but I'm glad for the time change and the added calm of Sunday morning. Prior to daylight savings, the sunrise (c. 7:30 and later) was getting a bit insufferable with traffic noise and hordes of dog/dogwalkers.

I'm the only one on the hill for a good while, and don't mind as a distant dog here and there join the scene.

There's a great hazy wash over the horizon that acts as a rose-color filter, with some streamy gold-rimmed clouds above. The haze wraps around the whole horizon, 360 degrees, in various phases of color. Beautiful!

At the south-eastern slope of the hill, I find this disturbing grove of sick birds talking amongst themselves:

OK, so they are actually squirrels, which I basically knew but wanted to confirm. Confirmed! I wonder what this call means in Squirrelese, and why they do it. They are such talkative animals!

The battery meter on my recorder is messed up, and goes from one bar to zero to emergency "X" about-to-expire battery status in a matter of seconds. Then auto-shuts off.

I panic about not being able to record my bird today, and consider the annoying prospect of returning home for batteries.

The whole situation makes me reflect on how dependent I've become on my "electronic ears". What would I have done 100 years ago?

Use my own ears and try to remember the calls.

This is a good reminder that the point of this project is developing my own ears, that the recorder is merely an aid.

Still, my 21st century resourceful self finagles with the recorder (wiping off the batteries, switching positions), and I manage to resuscitate it a couple times, recording a few snatches of nothing before I finally hear my bird of the day.

The recorder is not ready in time, but I do get in a few seconds of my own rendition:

At home, my sketch is based on yet another call, an unusual White Throat Sparrow that I also heard this morning (and whistled the whole way home to keep it in my head). I transcribe and compose a little piece around it.


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