It is often said that the anticipation of a holiday is more beneficial than travel itself. We escape the difficulties of work by dreaming of the future, the prospect of a journey keeping us buoyant throughout the year.
With my 4 week residency in Estonia drawing closer my mind is filled with predictions of the unfamiliar sounds that will surround me there. Among other things I especially hope to be able to record the sounds of snow and ice, something not available in this Australian sub-tropical climate.
But what of the sounds that I will, albeit temporarily, leave behind? As we approach the Australian summer there are a number of animals whose calls signal the arrival of this hot and humid season.
Below are a few of the regular sounds that mark this season in this sub-tropical region. The illustrations of the birds were painted by John Gould, a British ornithologist who identified 328 new species during his time in Australia from 1838-1840:
Kookaburras at dawn, nature’s alarm clock. The call of the Kookaburra is an interesting example of the cultural nature of listening. Where Australians hear the Kookaburra’s call as a joyful laugh, visitors to Australian hear the screaming of monkeys:
Masked-lapwings, more commonly known as Spur-winged Plovers. These birds lay their eggs on the ground and viciously swoop anyone remotely walking in their vicinity. This recording is of a plover couple attacking me as I walked along my driveway:
Magpies in the morning. Early colonialists accused Australian birds of not having a musical voice, yet the vocalisation of the magpie contests this early claim:
Bladder Cicadas calling from the trees at twilight. These cicadas are so loud that they are painful to the ear. They are as impressive as they are irritating:
I’m looking forward to listening to the “Old World”. For me it will be “the shock of the new”.
The next post will be from Venice, Italy. Till then …