Running Time:

138 min

Release Date:

May 2019

Recording Location:

Sir John Gorge, Upper Fitzroy River, Mornington Wildlife Reserve, Kimberley, West Australia

Fitzroy River Gorge

From the Kimberley plateau of northern Australia, the Fitzroy River flows through a set of narrow switchback gorges, flowing out into still, dark pools. Flanked by bare rock shelves, these deep waterholes provide a focus for birdlife in the otherwise dry savannah country.

In the hour after dawn, we sit overlooking the water, listening to the morning activity. The bare rock shelves around us are not much frequented, so most of the birdlife is heard from the far riverbank. The songs and calls of rock pigeons, bee-eaters, friarbirds, black cockatoos, honeyeaters and butcherbirds drift on the air, echoing from the rocks.

Overhead, fairy martins sweep and dive on the wing, hawking insects and twittering animatedly. From hardy shrubs nearby, their roots lodged in rock crevices, come the songs of paperbark flycatchers and the distinctive rasping of a great bowerbird. Groups of double-barred finches pass by with plaintive calls and quick wingbeats.

Eventually we transition to the late afternoon, listening to the sounds of the landscape as the day fades. Fairy martins still call pleasantly, while a pair of darters who've been drying their wings in the remaining light, take to the air, flapping noisily across the water. A willie wagtail and the bowerbird signal the approaching evening.

Andrew comments:

"This recording was made to highlight the conservation work of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy on their Mornington property. The extensive reserve is restored cattle country, and the Fitzroy River runs right through the heart of it.

"When we first arrived at the outflow of the upper gorge, my initial thought was that the extensive rock shelves would not provide enough habitat for an engaging recording. But as I set up microphones overlooking the water that first afternoon, the cheery voices of those fairy martins gave me encouragement. If they were all I recorded, I'd be happy.

"As it turned out, the landscape held great richness. I realised this with excitement at my first sighting of a White-quilled Rock Pigeon. Of course - the rocky escarpments were its perfect habitat! You can hear them fly across the water with clattering wingbeats on several occasions, and their soft calls carry quietly from the far bank. And then, another first; the full-bodied song of a Sandstone Shrike-thrush from further up the gorge.

"Listening to the landscape, I became aware of the acoustics of the location; the soft roar of cataracts upstream, birdsong echoing off the hard rocks, the contrast between martins calling immediately overhead and more distant birdsong from afar. This presence of the landscape gives everything you hear a context. It tells a story of place and what lives there. Its one of the things I love capturing in a recording.

"Another is time. Even though similar species are heard in the morning and afternoon, there is a very different feel at the beginning and end of the day; the afternoon stiller, relaxed, somehow expectant. These qualities make this a recording I'm especially pleased with."


Audio sample of this album


Brown Honeyeaters



Red-tailed Black Cockatoos Flypast



Little Friarbird



White-quilled Rock Dove Takes Wing



Bar-shouldered Doves



Magpie Larks



Great Bowerbird



Little Corella



Double-barred Finches and Sandstone Shrike-thrush



Pied Butcherbirds



Paperbark Flycatcher



Rainbow Bee-eaters



Double-bar Finches Fly Past



Fairy Martins



Afternoon: Fairy Martins, Rock Doves, Torresian Crow and Peaceful Doves



Darters Take Off



Black-fronted Dotterels



Silver-crowned Friarbird



White-quilled Rock Dove Calls



Willie Wagtail



Great Bowerbird at the End of the Day


Purchase this
album as:

Digital Album

(for immediate download)


Download this album
for as little as $7.50 -
View Special Deals

(Prices AU$, exGST)

About the audio formats


Mp3 is a universal audio format, playable on iPods, computers, media players and mobile phones.

Mp3 is a compressed format, allowing smaller filesizes, offering faster download times and requiring less storage space on players, but at some expense to the audio quality. Many listeners can't really hear the difference between mp3 and full CD-quality audio, and hence its convenience has lead to it becoming the default option for audio.

Our albums are generally encoded at around 256kbps (sometimes with VBR), balancing optimal audio quality without blowing out filesizes excessively. We encode using the Fraunhoffer algorithm, which preserves more detail in the human audible range than the lame encoder.

Our mp3 files are free of any DRM (digital rights management), so you can transfer them to any of your media technology. You've paid for them, they're yours for your personal use without restriction.

Mp3 files can be burned to disc, either as an mp3 disc, or an audio CD after converting them to a standard audio (.wav or .aif) format first.


FLAC is a high-quality audio format, allowing CD-resolution audio. It is ideal if you wish to burn your files to a CDR, or listen over a high resolution audio system. However files usually require special decoding by the user before playing or burning to disc.

FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is a LOSSLESS compressed audio format. This means that it preserves the full audio quality of a CD, but optimises the filesize for downloading. Typically, file sizes of around 60% are achieved without any degradation or loss of audio quality from the source files at the CD standard of 16bit/44.1kHz.

Obviously the file sizes are larger than for the mp3 version - usually around 300-400Mb for an album, compared to 100Mb for an mp3 album.

In addition, you'll need to know what to do with the files once you've downloaded them. In most cases you'll want to decode the files to wav or aiff, either to import into programs like iTunes, or burn to CDR. Some programs will play flac files natively.

There is a lot of information about flac online (eg: