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Clayoquot, ‘A morning on the Kennedy River‘
On Vancouver Island there is a bio-region that encompasses a large part of the Western side of the island near Tofino. This region is known as Clayoquot. Back in the 1980’s and 1990’s the area was fought over between logging companies and environmentalists who wanted to see the area protected. Much of the region contains old growth forests and after almost 1000 arrests around Kennedy Lake, and many more thousands protesting, a large part did eventually become protected. I remember watching these protests on TV, as did much of the world and it was quite a profound few days in May of 2014 in which I got to experience the place for myself.
The recordings come from the high elevations of Clayoquot, around the Kennedy River and near Clayoquot Provincial Park. The Kennedy River makes its way down from the mountains into Kennedy Lake and eventually the ocean. It is an important salmon spawning river. Throughout the hour long album you can hear the rivers presence, it is hard to escape the sound of it’s many rapids and falls.
The First 3 tracks are quiet and contemplative, perfect for quiet meditation, recorded on the edge of a tiny lake at 4.30am, you get a real sense of the space you are listening too. The final 3 tracks come from an area near the Kennedy River, up much higher in elevation, we find ourselves in a canyon, listening to Clayoquot wake up. The album is a celebration of this incredible bio-region.
1. The Song Sparrow 10.25
There is a long slow fade in to this first track. I had spent the night at this recording location up in a mountain pass, alongside the Kennedy River on Vancouver Island. It had rained just before dawn and I was not too hopeful I would be able to catch the morning chorus. As it happens the weather changed and after a completely silent night, a Song Sparrow began to sing.
2. Robin Chorus 4.15
As morning approaches and the first light began to seep into the landscape more birds join the chorus. Here all the Robins in the area are singing! Their song echoing over the lake. Bee’s began to wake, and life returns to this high mountain lake.
3. The Calm Of Sunrise 15.18
First light brought the early singers to our ears and now as sunrise approaches there is a quiet calm. Off over the lake we can hear distant birds, Robins, Varied Thrushes and others. We experience a few moments of serenity and get a sense of the peace to be found in a place like this. There is a surprise coming in the form of a Red Throated Loon that has made this lake home and in the back ground a strange buzzing, of course a Rufous Sided Humming Bird begins to feed.
4. Sunlight In The Canyon 10.11
The first sunlight can be seen over the mountains tops, temperatures rise, which brings other singers into the morning chorus. This is an intimate recording, if you listen carefully you can get a sense of the echo and space of the canyon.
5. MacGillivrays Warbler 5.47
A migrant into the Pacific North West to breed, the MacGillivrays Warbler loves forest edges and thickets and this was where I found this lovely singer, on the edge of a small wetland that backed into the forests of the canyon.
6. The Purple Finch 14.01
Our final track from the album. At first the Purple Finch can be heard far into the distance but for some reason he makes is presence known quite close to the microphones a little later. There are many birds singing now but it isnt hard to pick out the sweet melody of the Purple Finch. He comes in nice and loud at around the eight minute mark. We can also hear Chestnut Backed Chickadee and Stellars Jay.
Images from the recording of this album.