International Dawn Chorus Day is the worldwide celebration of nature’s daily miracle. This year there will be more opportunities than ever to join in the excitement. Celebrated on the first Sunday of May, the story goes that International Dawn Chorus Day began in the 1980s when broadcaster and environmentalist Chris Baines asked everyone to attend his birthday party at 4am so they could enjoy the dawn chorus with him. Since then IDCD has grown from a small event in Birmingham UK to an annual international celebration with Dawn Chorus events held as far afield as the Caribbean and Antarctica.
Here in Harrogate, we had our own event tied in with www.asoundmapofharrogate.co.uk. We asked for the residents of Harrogate to rise early and record the dawn chorus in their locality. To date, over eighty countries have participated in International Dawn Chorus Day, and this year people all over the globe will once again be rising early to greet the morning sun and enjoy nature’s daily miracle.
The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country promotes International Dawn Chorus Day because the best way to generate support for nature conservation and understanding of the importance of the natural world to human well-being, is to get people to experience the wonders of the their local wildlife first-hand.
About the album –
I have tried to sort out the tracks into how they would have manifested in the wild. We start with the earliest (chronologically) at 0430am moving around the town, through both the busy and quiet parts, as the Dawn Chorus unfolds.
1 – High End Of Dragon Parade by Allan Smyth. Recorded at 0430 on a Zoom H5 – Allan had a fantastic rig set up involving a chair and 4 microphones. But a bit of plastic sheeting is in his back garden. Allan said it was quite a wet dawn and the mics picked up a bit of the precipitation hitting the sheeting. However, I am over the moon with this recording.
2 – Leeds Road by Andy Foster. Now this is retro – Andy Foster recorded the dawn chorus on a cassette recorder! There is quite a bit of background ‘hum’ to the recording that you associate with cassettes but it captures the busy part of town succinctly.
3 – Back Dragon Parade by Andy Backhouse. Recorded on a Zoom H5 – This track was recorded at the top of a fire escape. The dawn rain was coming in at a drizzle and was bouncing off the metal staircase.
4 – Scotton Drive by David Littler. Recorded between 5am and five thirty, this snippet of the original was recorded on a Zoom H6 – David said the dawn wind carried in a fair amount of noise from the nearest motorway, the A1. However, I think it is ace – real sonic photography (if there is such a thing?).
5 – Low End Of Dragon Parade by Andy Backhouse. Recorded on a Zoom H5 with Telinga Clip On Mics – finding a time when drunk people were not walking past proved to be the issue – all whilst dressed as Arthur Dent from Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy.
6 – Back Dragon Parade [Binaural Microphones] by Andy Backhouse. Recorded on a Tascam DR-2D with Roland CS-10EM Binaural Microphones, this track is designed to be listened to on earphones. Binaural Microphones means that the mic is placed in the ear of the recordist.