Running Time:

210 min

Release Date:

April 2018

Recording Location:

Lake Gladstone, Kimberley Region, northern West Australia

A Wetland Restored

Lake Gladstone is the largest permanent wetland in the Kimberley region of northern Australia. However until recently, it was trampled by cattle, its waters muddied, and the balance of native vegetation exposed to invasive weeds.

In 2005, an agreement between neighbouring property managers and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy lead to restoration of this unique wetland. A stock-excluding fence was erected, followed by weed control measures. The results have been spectacular.

To visit Lake Gladstone now is to experience a richly biodiverse place, alive with the sounds of birdsong and waterfowl. Ducks and grebes call from the water, darters and egrets from surrounding perches, while brolgas take wing and call from overhead. Crakes and swamphens dabble among the reeds along the water's edge, and bush birdsong fills the trees.

This recording documents a single morning at the lake, beginning in the darkness of predawn. Over the following hours, the sun rises, casting long shadows over the waters and reedbeds. The soundscape subtly transitions from the songs of nocturnal crickets and cries of waterbirds in the dark, to the daytime activity of songbirds.

At three hours, this recording is a long one, capturing the complete early morning period. However it remains interesting the whole time, presenting the biodiversity of the place and allowing you to hear the success that collaborative conservation initiatives can achieve.

The making of this recording has been supported by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy and their staff at the adjoining Mornington-Marion Downs Station Wilderness Camp.

Andrew comments:

"One would expect that it would be easy to sound record in such an acoustically rich location. However placement of microphones involved some consideration. I chose two locations and ran two recorders continuously: one on open grassland close to the main water body, and the other by reeds and the water's edge in a sheltered area under established eucalypts.

"The final edit is comprised of the two recordings. The early dawn sequence was recorded in the open, and captures the nocturnal sounds of ducks and waterfowl on the lake and adjacent reedbeds. As the sun rises, the edit transitions to the second pair of microphones under the trees. Open water was still nearby, but here honeyeaters, magpie larks, cuckoo-shrikes and other songbirds flit about. Crakes and swamphens can be heard splashing and feeding close by the microphones. This recording location remained interesting well into the morning, while the open ground recording eventually became dominated by the buzz of flies circling (and landing on!) the microphones.

"At the conclusion, you can just hear the first morning breeze stirring the trees, and it was not long after that activity dissipated."

Audio sample of this album

1.

Part 1: Predawn, Waterfowl on the Wetlands

59.31

2.

Part 2: Dawn, Woodland Birds Awake

1.30.52

3.

Part 3: Morning, Brolgas Take Wing

59.19

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