These are two excerpts of a trip I took to North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) in July 2020. Popular with tourists, Straddie is often frequented by four wheel drivers who take their vehicles and camp along the beaches. Since moving to QLD, I've visited Straddie on several occasion, and have taken my mics to try and record each time. Unfortunately, the abundance of people, the nearby flight path of aircraft travelling North, and the regular thrum of of four wheel drives pounding along the roads has made recording anything useful quite difficult. The size of the island as well means that if there is a reasonable swell, it's hard to escape the distant roar of the ocean. However, I was lucky enough to be able to visit during a period where the camping was temporarily halted due to COVID, and the island was exceptionally quiet, with very few tourists able to visit. It was a calm few days with a small swell, and I was able to make several recordings, two of which I have uploaded here.
Brown Lake Evening was recorded, as the title states, at Brown Lake. This is the first time I have been here when there have been no other people there, and the combination of the frogs, evening insects and gentle warble of birds was a lovely ambience. During the start of this particular recording, a duck came round the corner of where I was hiding next to the lake and got a fright, you can here it flapping away. The main close bird throughout the recording is a Brown Honeyeater (I believe), with many other small birds making appearances throughout.
Heath Afternoon was recorded on a fire trail up near one of the highest points of the island. I made several recordings throughout the afternoon, with this particular one being my favourite. It isn't a 'perfect' recording from a sound post production standpoint. It has quite a bit of wind and nearby plant clicks in it, and would be a bit limited in its uses as a sound effect because of this. However, being situated right in the midst of the low lying heath plants for long enough meant that all the smaller birds began to draw closer and sing around me as they got used to my presence. I also quite like the soft movement of the wind, evoking quite a lazy relaxed afternoon atmosphere.
Despite the awful situation COVID has inflicted upon a lot of people for the past year, a really wonderful side effect for a brief period of time was the quiet that it forced us into. Whether it was in a major city, or a a small island off the coast of QLD, many of us probably experienced this quiet in some way or another. It is extremely sad, however, that it has taken such a monumental disaster to drive humanity to slow down and stop, and allow nature to sound as nature is meant to sound, untainted by the ever invasive din we inflict upon it. And at the same time, a wish and desire for such a terrible pandemic to never occur again also in some ways means a wish and desire to never hear nature in such an unaffected way again.
The microphones used in both recordings is a pair of Sennheiser 8040s in ORTF.
Both of these recordings are also available to purchase as part of my Australian Bush Soundscapes library.