Running Time:

159 min

Release Date:

April 2018

Recording Location:

Camp 13 (scientific camp) at 3000m, reached from Boksavin village, Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea

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Mossforest - New Guinea

Enter the realm of a New Guinean cloudforest.

Approaching 2800 meters in the Papuan mountains, the upland rainforest habitat transitions to actual cloudforest, which the local people describe as the mossforest.

Both names are very appropriate. The clouds which form at this altitude swirl as mists through the trees. This airborn moisture encourages prolific growth of mosses, and everything is cloaked in a vibrant green; fallen timber on the forest floor and the trunks of living trees, while epiphytic mosses hang from high branches.

Many bird species in these mountains are restricted to altitudinal zones, and those heard here form a community unique to these high elevation forests. In addition, several are endemic to the Huon Peninsula, where this recording was made.

The Huon Melidectes is one of them; a large honeyeater whose loud, rollicking call is a signature sound of this forest. Lesser Melampittas are heard from the understory with their penetrating 'zizzing' calls, a Greater Ground Robin sings a particularly beautiful song, lorikeets skitter overhead, Black-throated and Rufous-backed Honeyeaters are vocal, and the aptly-named Friendly Fantail whistles delicate musical phrases. Meanwhile, moisture accumulating in the canopy overhead drops as dewfall.

This is an unedited recording, made shortly after dawn. Birdong ebbs and flows as they move through the forest pursuing their morning activity. As well as a document of a seldom-visited and unique habitat, this is a relaxing and spacious recording.

Andrew comments:

"This high altitude habitat was a principle destination for the expedition I joined with fellow members of the Australian Wildlife Sound Recording Group to the Huon Peninsula in November of 2017. I've described the expedition itself on our AWSRG website.

"To reach the highest point on the range, we set off from a mid-point campsite at 2700m, first trekking down into a deep valley, then up the other side and higher. As we approached 3000m in the afternoon, the forest gradually changed. We sensed we were entering somewhere special. Maybe it was our footfalls sinking into the soft, mossy layers on the forest floor, or hearing a Huon Melidectes for the first time.

"After establishing our camp, we each set off to explore, listen, and decide where we'd like to record. Both Sue Gould and I felt that a small saddle nearby held prospect of being an interesting site, being somewhat more open and forming a small amphitheatre. She recorded there the first morning, and I the second.

"This recording is from that location. I set up my microphones in the middle of the saddle, just as the dawn chorus was waning. You can hear the last of the Regent Whistler who's territory was close by. At first, I felt there wasn't much going on, but as I atuned to this new place, I began hearing all kinds of interesting calls. I was hearing all these species for the first time.

"I listened with a mixture of excitement, curiosity and natural stillness. I hope that in playing this recording, you can too.

"Few researchers have been to this environment, and as far as we know, this is the first time it has been sound recorded. So you're hearing something special."

 

Audio sample of this album

1.

End of the Dawn Chorus, with Regent Whistler

29.19

2.

Lesser Melampita & Black-throated Honeyeater

28.46

3.

Song of the Greater Ground Robin

38.08

4.

Black Fantail & Blue-capped Ifrits

33.53

5.

Huon Melidectes

28.37

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