A personal journey through sound.

Desert Frogsong

Posted: April 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: field recording, nature recording

[One in a series of posts from my spring 2011 trip to the southern California desert.]

Anza Borrego Desert State Park is the second largest state park in the lower 48 United States. It’s dry, as its name implies, but it’s very seismically active and has many natural hot springs and oases scattered throughout the park, so water is less scarce than you’d think.

Even so, it shocked me almost beyond belief how filled some of these hot seeps were with frogs, and how loud they got at night. Sadly, I didn’t get any pictures of these tiny thumb-sized frogs, puffing out their chins to impress their ladyfriends, but I watched them for an hour with my headlamp while I recorded them from several perspectives. (Tip: Get a headlamp with a red LED or filter. This goes a long way in preserving your night vision while still illuminating nearby things like field recorder controls, and tends to spook animals less.)

Here is one long take from this session. It starts with distant frogs, one slow croaker nearby, and then gets really hopping (ugh, sorry, I had to do it) around 1 minute in. Then, after two and a half minutes, it dies down as quickly as it started.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/13996065″ params=”show_comments=true&auto_play=false&color=ee0000″ width=”100%” height=”81″ ]
[Sony PCM-D50 recorder, capsules at 120°]

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5 Comments on “Desert Frogsong”

  1. 1 Michael Raphael said at 7:14 pm on April 25th, 2011:

    Killer man. Really nice.

  2. 2 Colin Hunter said at 4:59 am on April 26th, 2011:

    Awesome recording! That’s some serious froggy croaks going on there!

    Definitely agree on the red filter. I don’t know if they still do it, but Petzl have a version of the Tikka model that has a flap down red filter. I got mine years ago so don’t know if it’s still made but it offers three intensities from the LEDs plus the red filter so comes in very handy.

  3. 3 Paul Virostek said at 10:06 am on April 26th, 2011:

    Nice work! Great capture.

  4. 4 Adrian Millington said at 2:23 am on April 30th, 2011:

    Sounds great, terrific capture.

  5. 5 soundslikenoise said at 1:23 pm on April 30th, 2011:

    It’s amazing how noisy nature really is once you get away from the lo-fi hum of the city. Nice clip – every time I try to record frogs they fall silent.

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