Experience some of the world’s remotest, most inaccessible jungles. Discover secluded woodland habitats and undisturbed heathlands with our two free CDs: Sounds of the Rainforest and A Year in Wild Britain. Read the full playlist for both CDs below. Free with the Independent print edition this weekend.
Disc One: Sounds of the Rainforest
Available with The Independent on Saturday 24 January
Part One - Before dawn - Midday (duration 29'55")
1. Night, and the banks of the Amazon River are alive with frogs as the 2. Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus sounds its haunting tune. The rattling cacophony of a group of 3. Giant Toads Bufo marinus is joined by the distant fluty “coo-eeer” of the Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis, which 4. then flutters closer. 5. A lone Owl Monkey Aotus vociferans hoots from the trees bordering theriver, and fish splash in the shallows.
6. The unearthly roaring of a distant troop of Red Howler Monkeys Alouatta seniculus reverberates across the canopy of the awakening forest, and day breaks to the 7. hooting of Rufous Motmots Baryphthengus ruficapillus. 8. The trumpeting of Horned Screamers Anhima cornuta echoes round the borders of a swamp, and 9. a pair of Black-capped Donacobius Donacobius atricapillus duet like car alarms from a reed clump against a dense background of bird life.10. In the forest Mealy Parrots Amazona farinosa fly in and settle, calling raucously, on a fruiting tree, 11. to be joined by the incessant grating of Yellow-ridged Toucans Ramphastos culminatus. 12. An unseen Black-spotted Barbet Capito niger calls once.
13. Suddenly a Spix’s Guan Penelope jacquacu is disturbed from its daytime roost and clambers clumsily up through dense growth, protesting vigorously. 14. In the canopy a Russet-backed Oropendola Psarocolius angustifrons emits its garbled liquid gargles. 15. Near the forest floor, Greater Anis Crotophaga major feed, chuckling and chortling as other creatures retreat from the sweltering midday heat. 16. Only the energetic male Yellow-rumped Cacique Cacicus cela imposes itself on the forest, with virtuoso shrieks and mimicry of other animals. In the far distance the first thunder rolls and a breeze stirs leaves in the treetops. 17. Meanwhile the Cacique flies to a nearer perch among a colony of hanging nests, its exuberant song eliciting responses from the nestlings.
Part Two - Afternoon - Night-time (duration 30'05")
18. The characteristic wolf-whistle of the 19. Screaming Piha Lipaugus vociferans breaks through the murmur and rumble of the breeze and distant thunder. The afternoon air becomes heavy and still against the distant drone of a motor launch on the Amazon River, and the 20. Yellow-rumped Cacique calls an alarm. 21. A flock of Duskyheaded Parakeets Aratinga weddellii flies off into the distance calling shrilly. Thunder rolls almost without cease as storm clouds gather and the wind freshens, and the 22. flight of a pair of Blue-and-yellow Macaws Ara ararauna high over the forest flashes colour across the darkening sky.
23. The first drops of rain tap on the forest canopy. The rain falls ever faster and harder until, at the height of the storm, everything is drowned in a wall of white noise. 24. The Bullfrog Leptodactylus pentadactylus commences its whooping territorial call to be joined 25. by the faint double chirrups of a Poison Dart Frog Dendrobates pictus. As the rain above ceases, water continues to tumble noisily through vegetation to refresh the forest floor.
26. The enchanting melody of the Musician Wren Cyphorhinus arada preludes the evening, and 27. a party of Variable Chachalaca Ortalis motmot moves with a raucous chorus towards their night roosts near a swamp at the forest edge. 28. The Undulated Tinamou Crypturellus undulatus begins its double-note whistle, followed in the background by a Pauraque breaking into song against the evening medley of frogs. 29. Giant Toads are heard again, and nightjars and owls sound out through the blackness of the rain forest night.
Disc Two: A Year in Wild Britain
Available with The Independent on Sunday 25 January
The New Year – Woodchester Park, Gloucestershire 6.27 January – 11pm.
Cold and still on a clear night, a full moon rises over the wooded valley. Red Fox, Tawney Owl and the distant noise from a train.
Fenland – Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire 8.08
March – calm and frosty conditions just after dawn: a busy chorus of several Redshanks singing and displaying, Coots, a Song Thrush, Lapwings in display flights, Moorhen, a gaggle of distant Canada geese, a Pheasant crowing, Snipe drumming and chippering, a Skylark singing and the distant cooing of a Wood pigeon.
Old Forest in Spring – Woodchester Park, Gloucestershire 7.49 April – 9am.
Sunny, calm and warm. The shrill notes of a Wren and nasal calls of a Nuthatch; gentle cooings of Woodpigeons, Robin song, a Pheasant crowing and bees humming. Rooks cawing, scolding notes of a Jay, Blackbird, Cuckoo, a Blue Tit calling and singing. At 3’ 23” a Great Spotted Woodpecker starts its drumming (loudly!), moving from one branch to another. Willow Warbler and Coal Tit songs can also be heard.
Sea Cliffs – Bempton, North Yorkshire 5.13 May – 5pm.
Above the pounding waves at the foot of the cliffs, a cacophony of the seabirds colony: Guillemots, Kittiwake, Fulmars, Gannets and gulls. Light rain starts to fall.
Sea Inlet – Arasaig, Scotland 12.09 May - 4am.
Dawn on a moorland, above pools facing a natural harbour at the Sound of Arisaig. Sheep, a distant Cuckoo, Curlew and Skylark. Several Herring Gulls fly near, wheeling round, and [at 5’ 02”] two Great Black-backed Gulls
Farm Hedgerow – Brancaster, Norfolk 8.44 June – 4am.
Calm and warm at dawn on agricultural lands. From a hedgerow surrounding meadows: Chaffinches, Linnets calling and singing, a cockerel, Turtle Doves, a Woodpigeon, a Greenfinch, Pheasant, distant Canada Geese, and a Cuckoo. House Sparrows, Goldfinches, Starlings and a Blackbird calling.
Welsh Uplands – Tregaron, Dyfed, Wales 7.22 July – 2pm:
A warm afternoon on high open moorland: Meadow Pipits, Common Green Grasshoppers, sheep, Skylarks, blustery wind and buzzing flies. The grasshoppers quieten as the wind strengthens and clouds hide the sun.
Norfolk Estuary – Burnham Overy, Norfolk 5.27 September – 11am.
Calm and warm in a small harbour and estuary at low tide. Redshanks on the exposed mud, flies and bees, Black-headed Gulls, Linnets and Grey Plovers.
Scottish Glen – Glen Meinich, Inverness, Scotland 11.23 October – 9pm.
A narrow glen with steep sides. Still, cold and snow on the ground under a clear sky. Several rutting Red Deer stags are roaring against the background of a river.
Woodland in Winter – Woodchester Park, Gloucestershire 4.06
December – 4pm, at dusk. A group of five Carrion Crows in the trees, before roosting, during a blustery force 6 wind.
Sounds of the Rainforest was originally published by the British Library under the title Rainforest Requiem © 2001 the British Library Board.
A Year in Wild Britain is extracted from Wild Britain published by the British Library © 1997 the British Library Board
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