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Indian Jungle Dawn

by Andrew Skeoch

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A beautiful morning of birdsong unfolds in one of India's rare lowland forests.

Spotted Owlets give their last calls as the dawn chorus begins. Indian Scimtar Babblers are heard on all sides with their warm tonal songs, along with White-browed Fantails and the contrapuntal rhythms of Tailorbirds. Parakeets fly through the forest, Malabar squirels call loudly, langur 'whoop's fill the forest, and woodpeckers drum overhead.

This recording will take you into a pristine wild place.


This recording was made in Orisa, an eastern state of India. It is a little visited region, and we were informed we were one of the few westerners to have visited some of its parks.

After securing permissions (which was an adventure in itself), we hired a vehicle and driver, and set off to Sakosia forest on the banks of the Mahadevi River. Basing ourselves at the visitor's accommodation near the village of Tikapara, each morning we drove out in the predawn, along a narrow dirt road that threaded through dense forest following the banks of the river. About an hour along this road, we found a recording location which seemed promising. Here a small valley and stream emerged from the surrounding hills, and the birdlife seemed prolific.

For the next two days we recorded there, and got some lovely material. It was a great spot. However we found that the road was a bit of a village thoroughfare, with occasional bicycles, scooters and even a local bus coming along. We realised that this traffic would ease on the following day - Sunday - so we planned on an early start the next morning.

Being India, we should have known better... We awoke, but found that a nightwatchman had unexpectedly locked all the gates out of the visitor's compound. This had not been done previous evenings, but our vehicle headlights now illuminated medieval locks and huge chains looped around iron gates. With the minutes ticking to daylight, we searched the village for the nightwatchman and the key. He was not sleeping where he usually lived, and when we eventually did find him - nearly an hour later - he'd left the key elsewhere!

With our morning plans derailed, we made the best of it and recorded elsewhere, but relatively unsuccessfully. If our favourite location were to yield any further opportunities, the only strategy was to return the following Sunday, and try again.

Which, after exploring other parks in the region, is what we did. The nightwatchman was eventually convinced to not 'do his duty' by locking the gates, and we arrived at our location with stars overhead, and crickets chirruping pleasantly. Which is where this recording begins.

Over the following hours, the forest awoke to the richest birdsong we'd yet heard there, and during that time, we only encountered one quiet and slightly bemused cyclist.


released April 4, 2008

Recording location:
Satkosia National Park, Orissa, India.


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Andrew Skeoch Australia

Andrew is a master wildlife field recordist. For over 30 years, he and partner / photographer Sarah Koschak have been documenting the voices of the world's ecosystems and wild creatures. The resulting recordings have been published through their dedicated label: Listening Earth ... more

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