Wednesday, 23 May 2012

dawn along the indus

Our local river is much smaller in both scale and power than its namesake in Pakistan, and unlike the original it no longer floods. I won’t pretend that it’s a riparian wilderness, because it was canalized in the 1990s and nowadays looks distinctly artificial, but it’s home to a wide variety of birds, and it is full of fish. There are remnants of the old course of the river, where the outer parts of some of the widest meanders have been bypassed, and these marshy areas are home to thousands of frogs at this time of year.

This year has been exceptional, in that millions of periodic cicadas are now drowning out the routine bird calls:

It takes a lot of insects to make this much noise (click to play):

…making it necessary to do any bird recordings before the sun rises:

The local birds kick off up to an hour before sunrise (click to play):

Early morning is a pleasant time for a gentle stroll along the river, as the following series of photographs shows:

Looking downstream (west). The high-rise buildings over the hill are part of Shenzhen, the ‘Wild East’, a city of ten million people that was a fishing village just three decades ago.

“As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow bend”.

Looking upstream from the same point where the previous photos were taken. The high-rise apartments mark the eastern edge of Fanling.

The confluence of the river’s two main tributaries.

And if you come back after dark, you will discover that the frog chorus has changed dramatically from that of a month ago:

Yet another frog chorus (click to play):

Compare this recording with the third one in We All Stand Together. Both were recorded in the same place.

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