Well OK, so after staying up till 2 recording pine, we then slept in a tent, despite having an entire 12 person lodge to ourselves. Why you ask? Well, we bought the tent a year ago and still hadn’t used it, so I was determined to spend one night in the wild. Also, being the Australian that I am, I forgot that January in NZ was still freezing.
It was a fun night, though I didn’t get a lot of good quality sleep in our children’s sleeping bags bought at the warehouse for 6 dollars. So 5am dawn chorus record sort of…failed.
We were heading up the mountain by 7am though which isn’t bad. Here are my journal entries from the second trip up the mountain of doom. (Not to be confused with Mount Doom).
9am – We started at 7am, we’re making our way up trying to get dawn chorus. We sort of missed it. We got some good stuff back at the lodge or should I day Dave did while I slept, but we’ve missed most of the chorus…my bad.
Great wind in foliage right now, but we’ve had a slight disruption to our cause. Two magpies have followed us…literally followed us…and sat by our recorders at every stop! (For those who don’t know, Magpies are an import to NZ from Australia, yes, my fault again…along with the possums).
In addition to this outrage, a crop dusting plane has been circling the sky non stop. (This one can’t be blamed on Australia, so I’m off the hook.)
Now this isn’t one of those occasions where I can say ‘oh well I guess sometimes you get sounds that are different to what you hope or expect.’ There is nothing good about this crop dusting jerk!
The only good thing is that I can still maintain my humour about it and the silent laughs Dave and I have shared will be one of the standout memories of the trip.
Damn, 10 mins in and here come the cicadas. Though the magpies seemed to have backed off and perhaps the plane has gone down for a refuelling because we’ve had a few nice minutes here.
9:51am – We’re sitting near the summit and there are a couple of Kokako sitting and eating in the trees. They’re not saying much, but we’re having a little bit of a moment with them. Cicadas are definitely on the rise. But at least there aren’t any magpies here yet. We’re getting some great wing flaps too.
Gold! Kokako is singing. It’s not so much about catching the sound, or that it’s a particularly lucrative strike, as if we had literally struck a gold vein. It’s more like sighting a unicorn or entering a fairytale, and for a few brief moments, you are with this rare thing and all the trivialities of life dissolve. There is no greater feeling when recording than to feel those moments unfolding around you, as the clock counter ticks away each digital second fills your hard drive with snapshots of joy. Compiling fragments of this moment shared between us and this marvellous creature. I realise that time is all we have, time is our only possession with which to experience this life and this world.
Thank you mister Kokako for your wisdom of the day and for sharing your song with two very lucky sound nerds!
Later in the day, after a nap, we went back to the meadow base of the forest to record a little bit of dusk.
8:20 – it’s dusk. We’ve recorded 2 locations. The first was just down the road in a little clearing of bush and pine. Now we are back at our track have been here since 7:30, so a good chunk of dusk, even if it is a bit buggy.
Wow, something huge just went crack up the hill like a tree about to fall. Massive!
Well it’s been nice getting a lower down and more distant version of the dusk we recorded yesterday.
Going back to the lodge now to set up some more pine night recording and maybe we’ll grab a few FX too. Must be up at dawn though tomorrow morning to get the chorus properly. Fingers crossed I can wake up.