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Recording Location: Warren Lake, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Album Length: 1 hour 5 minutes
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A look at the world ‘wind’ map tells us that this region of Eastern Canada has some of the strongest, most sustained winds on Earth, and here they are in an intimate one hour recording from the Cape Breton Highlands of Nova Scotia.
Les Suetes is an uninterrupted soundscape featuring the winds that blow across the Boreal Plateau of the Cape Breton Highlands of Nova Scotia, Canada. Recorded in a sheltered old growth Acadian Forest, it is an intimate exploration of this unique weather phenomenon.
Les Suetes are high winds that sweep in over Northern Cape Breton which is located on the tip of Nova Scotia, Canada. They are south easterly winds that funnel over the Boreal plateau and can reach gusts as strong as 150 km/h (94 mph) as they descend the sides of the steep sloped hills.
This nature soundscape was recorded in early June of 2013 and is from a single, on location, recording in the sheltered old growth Acadian Forests near Warren Lake in the Cape Breton Highlands. In June the forests are alive with nesting and breeding tropical migrant birds, who spend their summers in the North. The album has a rich texture that evokes space and relaxation as we listen to the many elements of the soundscape including the early morning wind, the birds of the ‘bottom lands’ and the surrounding forests.
1. We begin just after dawn, this old growth forest set inland from the wild coast of the Atlantic is sheltered from Les Suetes, the high wind that funnels over the Boreal plateau to rush down the steep mountainsides of the Cape Breton Highlands. The small wood warblers and Fly Catchers sing, one of them the seldom seen Yellow Bellied Fly Catcher. Yellow-bellied Flycatchers wait on a perch low or in the middle of a tree and fly out to catch insects in flight, sometimes hovering over foliage. They sometimes eat berries or seeds. In this recording, he can be heard at 3.12.
2. The first gusts of the Les Suetes wind comes in from the plateau to rake across the tree tops and the lake beyond. Here, low in the forest, just after dawn, we are sheltered and forest life seems to carry on as normal.
3. Our location for this soundscape is at the head of WarrenLake in the Cape Breton Highlands, near a unique wetland that is perfect for the Northern Waterthrush. His loud insistent call seems to over ride even the breeze, but what a singer! The breeding habitat of the Northern Waterthrush is wet woodlands near water. It is a terrestrial feeder, eating insects, mollusks, and crustaceans found amongst leaf litter. It seems to walk rather than hop, and teeters, since they bob their rear ends as they move along.
4. The breeze makes the Maple trees speak, here we hear the creaking of these old trees as they move and sway with the wind, something they have done for decades. This unique sound adds a whole other dimension to the sense of depth in the soundscape.
5. An hour or so after sunrise we hear the Wood Warblers moving and feeding through the surrounding forest. Here we have a nice mix of species typical to the AcadianForest. The microphones were place on the edges of habitat, which gives a lovely ambiance from different eco-systems, all within the same recording.
6. The gentle call and song of the Black Capped Chickadee’s as they move through the forest. We also hear the first calls of the Mergansers in the back ground. These tree nesting ducks are leaving their cavity nests in the surrounding woods, heading to the lake to feed.
7. A brief calm descends over the area, the wind drops and there is a quietness to the soundscape. We hear a gentle breeze and the quiet calls of birds in the canopy, if we really listen, a distant Thrush sings on the far shore.
8. It is time for the Mergansers to leave their nests and head to the lake to feed. This is an amazing part of this recording. Sitting there it was something I had never experienced; they all seemed to depart from the surrounding hills at once.
9. The Acadian Forest comes alive with the calls of the Boreal Chickadee, a bird of the Northern forests, a Pileated Woodpecker in the distance, the Northern Waterthrush, Northern Parula, Yellow Rumped Warbler and many other species all seem to be singing at once, giving the soundscape a lovely ambience and depth.
10. The comedian of the Northern Forests, the Blue Headed Vireo attracts an audience with his cheerful song.
11. From the canopy, a pleasant relaxing mix of bird song.
12. The end of the soundscape and the wind returns in steadily growing gusts that can be heard coming in over the surrounding hills in long ‘sweeps’ across the plateau. In these final few minutes a lovely sense of direction and space can be felt in this final track to end our listening experience.