The Nature Bible

Song of Songs

Music · Nature sounds

The Sounds of a Lost Summer



Lost Soundscapes: English meadow 1901 (recreation)


As we go deeper into Autumn, the very talented Sussex ornithologist and composer, Joseph Monkhouse, studying for an MSc in Bird Conservation has just mixed an audio recreation of a typical meadow soundscape in 1901 that's bursting with birdsong.


Since 1970 there's been a 48% decline in British farmland bird species and using numerous written accounts as a guide, Joseph's mixed more than 50 individual modern audio recordings to replicate the past and highlight the dramatic change in density and diversity of UK farmland bird species in the past century.


Apparently a narrated version is in progress but in the meantime there is a stamped list of all bird species included in the video, showing when they start singing or when they are most prominent:-


11:20 Montagu's Harrier (flyover) 5:00 Grey Partridge 7:23 Common Quail 1:02 Corncrake 11:33 Northern Lapwing 10:00 Wood Pigeon 1:26 Turtle Dove 0:43 Common Cuckoo 11:50 Common Swift (flyover) 0:02 Common Skylark 2:54 Barn Swallow 13:51 Meadow Pipit (brief) 3:38 Yellow Wagtail (flyover) 19:10 Lesser Whitethroat 5:41 Common Whitethroat 9:15 Grasshopper Warbler 8:30 Red-backed Shrike (alarm call) 13:47 Golden Oriole (distant) 9:35 Tree Sparrow 14:18 Linnet 12:49 Reed Bunting 0:55 Yellowhammer 3:49 Cirl Bunting 0:59 Corn Bunting 10:30 Carrion Crow.


Alternatively, you can recreate summer a century ago by just lying back, closing your eyes and listening for 20 minutes can almost smell the meadow!