The sound of a Tom Turkey drumming can really take you by surprise. It is deep, really deep. At first it sounds like it is coming from within your own head, but then you realize this is an external sound. It starts out slow and then ratchets up to a faster pace, accelerating until it stops.
Wandering into the Ottawa Marsh last week, the sound of a drumming Tom was one of the first to meet my ears. This lucky Tom was close to the staging area, and so most everyone out for a spring turkey hunt had probably passed him by, heading deeper into the woods.
The drumming of the turkey got me thinking of the wonderful sounds of the forest, field, or marsh. As I wandered through the fields around the Ottawa Marsh, I tuned into the rich animal sounds all around me. Lying on the ground to take this shot of a Spring Beauty wildflower, I listened in to the calls of various frogs in the nearby marsh, the “huff huff!” of deer hanging out nearby, and the myriad overlapping calls of cardinals, robins, and song sparrows. Somewhere in the mix the “Woo-hala-woo-hala-woo-hala!” of sandhill cranes danced on my ears.
When I came to the two large trees, full of butterflies, bees and flies; I heard the buzzing whir of the bees and, more sweetly, the soft “thuddy-thud-thud” of Mourning Cloaks as they hovered over the trees exuding sap.
Down there in the marsh, I didn’t hear any traffic noises – the highway is far enough away, and you’re low enough below the roads, so automotive noise doesn’t reach you.
I did hear the steady pop-pop-pop of shotguns discharging. It reminded me the sounds of fireworks in small county displays. You sit out on a hill surrounded by cornfields or vineyards, and the fireworks start out slowly – one dull thud after another – until they reach a crescendo of steady thuds.
And then they fade away…