Friday, April 29, 2011

Spring 41: Drizzle-Free

5:30am-7:20am, campsites and Sundew Trail, Schoodic Point, Acadia National Park, ME
little cracks in the rain clouds, cool

What a difference the weather makes!

It’s my first non-drizzly morning on the Schoodic Peninsula, and everywhere is much livelier than the previous two mornings. I recorded two more hermit thrushes to compare to my Mt. Desert Island (MDI) thrush, and a couple winter wrens – the next transcription challenge!

I’m very curious to understand why the MDI hermit thrush was so regular (every four phrases matching), and why, so far, others are not. I blame Donald Kroodsma, author of the remarkable book, The Singing Life of Birds, for inspiring me to understand each individual’s unique birdsong. His book has also convinced me that to mix birdsongs from two different territories together would result in an unfaithful portrait, so here I go looking for individuals from the same area to learn more closely. I may have bitten off more than I can chew...!

By the trailhead, several black-and-white warblers bounce about, and I am entranced by the song of a purple finch, a beautiful bird with a rose-colored head.

Here he is, the bird of the day:

The sun finally came out later this morning, and I took a long lunch break for a gorgeous solo hike along the Anvil Trail to Schoodic Head, the highest point on the Peninsula (440 feet). Lots of stunning ocean, bay, and Mt. Desert Island views – all to myself.

I feel utterly spoiled – my second sunny picnic of the trip! The first day of sun in four days!

The next few days may see some sun as well. Uh oh, can I contain myself? I've been fantasizing about hitting the Cadillac South Ridge trail when it's NOT raining and I can see the views...It will be a tough call - I do have a performance on Tuesday to prepare. So much to do, so little time!

At home, I slowed down recordings to better transcribe these speedy birds.

Here is the original purple finch segment:

Here it is slowed down to two-thirds the original tempo:

Here is my version of this slowed tempo:

Here is that same version by me, now (digitally) sped up to original tempo:

Here is yet another version by me, this time unmodified, mimicking the original tempo:

I’m pleased with how the last version came out, and think this might be a good technique for approximating the speedy birds!


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