Quiet

Many people have asked how I enjoy the quiet here in the Maine woods.

Our house sits on the middle of a hill, surrounded by mountains and a boggy pond.  Sound echoes and carries far; every sound is magnified. When I heard what I thought was a deer running in our woods, it turned out to be only a small red squirrel!

There is no “white noise” so each sound is distinct.  I can hear a car coming from a mile away, and conversations from hundreds of feet away.  I can hear a single dried leaf falling from the top of a tree, gently hitting the brittle leaves that still remain on the same tree as the leaf floats its way down to the ground.

Although I haven’t made an effort to make my own recordings, you can share in the sounds I hear by listening to these sound bytes I found on the Internet.  Although there are many variations, I’ve chosen the ones that sound just like the noises in my own backyard.  Please note, unless otherwise indicated, the majority of these pictures were taken by others, were found on the Internet, and are used for visual reference only.

I can hear (and see) wild turkeys almost daily: http://www.nwtf.org/audio/Gobbling.mp3

Late at night I may be awakened by far-off coyotes (click on “Coyote 1”):

http://www.soundboard.com/sb/Wild_Coyote_sounds.aspx

The haunting call of a loon, from several ponds away: http://www.nhest.org/cloon.wav

We have both grey and red foxes in this part of Maine.  Foxes calling to one another sound very  eerie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxLHUxzEoRU

Barred Owls are busy too: http://pelotes.jea.com/AnimalFact/Birds/owlbard.wav

A few times I’ve seen moose at the pond across from our house (sometimes with a calf).  I took these photos in May.

(click to enlarge)

 

(click to enlarge)

 

Each time it took a step, the moose “krechtzed” and I nearly laughed out loud.  The bull moose in this video taken in Glacier National Park is making a quieter version of the same sound, albeit a bit less dramatically: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xZdWhVQ4RU

Here is a photo I took of  some moose hoof-prints on the sandy edge of the road just across from our driveway, at the rim of the pond:

(click to enlarge)

I took this photo of a bull moose about an hour’s drive from our house in early June.  Bull moose lose their antlers in the beginning of winter and they regrow in the spring.

 

Bull Moose in "velvet" (click on photo to enlarge)

The new antler growth is initially covered in a velvety coating which the moose removes by rubbing on the nearest tree trunk, at which point they begin to look the way you’d expect moose antlers to look!

During the summer there was deafening high decibel chirping by what sounded like thousands of birds at the pond, from dusk to dawn.  A naturalist  I queried via email suggested they might be frogs!  So I did a search for “frogs of Maine” and listened to the various frog calls.  (Ok, I know, you’re thinking “Get a life!”)  Bingo!  The nocturnal sounds that drive us nuts are indeed “Spring Peepers” – a kind of frog.  Here is an audio file, but really you can’t begin to imagine the intensity unless you could turn the volume up ten times louder than you will hear now:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4a/Springpeepers.ogg

One frog “concert” that I actually enjoy is the sound of Green Frogs in the spring.  Their call sounds like a loose banjo string being plucked (click on the word “listen”)

http://imagess3.enature.com/listen.swf?rndm=1580&audio=AR0027

My grandchildren were very excited about sleeping outside in our pop-up camper when they came to visit this summer.  But all these noises were too discomforting, and they were back inside the house with eyes as wide as saucers within the first 30 minutes of their evening camp-out.

So much for “quiet” . . .

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