As dawn illuminates Uluru, the desert sandhills come alive with birdsong. Fairy wrens, finches, honeyeaters, chats, babblers and tiny diamond doves sing from among the scrub and spinifex grass-covered dunes.
As the morning progresses, cicadas can be heard in the canopies of ironwoods, and the outback winds sigh through the desert oaks.
In late afternoon, with the rock glowing red in the fading light, fairy martins trill as they fly into their nest caves, and water is heard trickling into secluded Mutijulu waterhole. With nightfall, we hear the gentle sounds of a desert evening.
This recording evokes the natural wonders of Uluru, Kata Tjuta and the central Australian deserts known as 'The Red Centre'.
"To see the huge bulk of Uluru on the desert horizon for the first time is awe inspiring. Equally memorable is to be at the base of the rock itself as the late afternoon sun lights up the rockface a vivid red.
It is easy to understand why both Uluru and nearby Kata Tjuta are places of such spiritual significance for the aboriginal Pitjantjatjara people. Having gained their permission to do our recording, we spent nearly two weeks both at Uluru itself and in the surrounding desert country.
This album is a sonic portrait of the area. What I love about this album, is that it features not only the bird and wildlife that abounds, but the actual sounds of the landscape; wind roaring against rock faces, vast canyon echoes and the rippling of water into secluded waterholes.
To be able to capture that with our microphones gives this recording an added dimension; that of the vastness of the central Australian landscape."
For this recording, Andrew has recorded a spoken commentary.
Uluru is protected environmentally through its status as a national park, and culturally by the Pitjantjatjara people. A quarter of a million visitors come to Uluru each year, but tourism operators and parks staff have done much to manage our human impact.
Fire management, invasive weed and feral animal control are ongoing issues. Feral camels for instance do significant damage to waterholes, while rabbits eat vegetation that stabilises the soil, allowing erosion to take hold. Meanwhile feral carnivores - cats and foxes - take a devestating toll on native species. Visiting Uluru yourself can help, as funds from tourism support management programs to address these issues.
However the real long-term issue is climate change. Central Australia is experiencing more intense summer temperatures, with now extensive periods of over 40ºC days. This dries out the soil, with a consequent effect on insect populations and bird numbers. Many species rely on waterholes, and extreme heat over prolonged periods makes these less viable.
For arid habitats the world over to remain sustainable, progressive action on climate change is necessary.