Monday, December 19, 2011

Abandoned Drains

Over the past decade, Hexham Swamp on the NSW coast new Newcastle has been the subject of one of the largest wetland rehabilitation projects in the southern hemisphere. Part of the project has been the reintroduction of tidal flows to the wetland and as part of that process, an old pipelines that once acted as drains have been decomissioned. The old pipes had been discarded onsite and these recordings were made on an extremely windy day from a shaltered space inside the pipes.

Abandoned Drains by seaworthy

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Two Lakes & 12k December Sale

Seaworthy and Matt Rosner's 2010 collaboration "Two Lakes" met with great critical aclaim on its release and we're happy to let you all known that during the month of December, you can pick it up for a bargain price during 12k's annual December sale. Alongside our CD, you can also grab a few other great releases from 12k includingreleases from Ken Kirschner, Fourcolor, Stephan Mathieu (highly recommended!), Moss and Murralin Lane. Full details of the sale , as well as sound samples, are available on the 12k website.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Blue Mountains Botanic Garden

Approximately 90min drive from Sydney's CBD, The Blue Mountain Botanic Gardens are located at Mt Tomah. This beautiful region of the Blue Mountains is the perfect location for the Botanic Gardens. Just one part of the gardens is known as "The Jungle". For some history on this area of the gardens:

"The Jungle was originally purchased in 1929 by a group of Sydney businessmen to save the magnificent sassafras and coachwood trees from the timber mill while providing Sydney with a national park to its west. It was opened by the then Governor Admiral Sir Dudley DeChair on 23 March 1929 and the original walk was dedicated to the memory of Sir James Fairfax KBE. However, the Jungle never achieved its destiny as a national park as the Great Depression, coupled with pressure for building funds for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, led in 1934 to the land being resumed by the previous owners, the Charley family.
In 2008, 33 hectares of the original Jungle was purchased by the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, with the financial support of John and Elizabeth Fairfax and the NSW Government's Environmental Trust. Now part of the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah, the Jungle is again in public hands giving Sydneysiders an opportunity to experience and understand Blue Mountains' rainforest.

These recordings were made late in the afternoon on 21 November. While within the rainforest habitats you seem completely isolated, the invasive sound of traffic continues to invade these recordings. However, the diversity of bird calls here more than makes up for it. It would be nice to visit first thing in the morning to make some more recordings.

For more information on the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens visit their website.

Blue Mountains Botanic Garden by seaworthy

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Singing Floodlights

This recording was made with contact mics on floodlight towers at Campbell Park, Russell Lea, NSW, Australia. The towers are relatively narrow and at over 30m high with their large banks of floodlights tend to sway a little once the wind picks up. These recordings were made during a period of particularly strong winds, a common occurance in Sydney during September/October each year. The sounds in these recordings are primarily made from the movement of internal wires/cables as the huge structures sway in the wind. During these recordings, the movement in the lights above was quite dramatic.

Singing Floodlights by seaworthy

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sugarloaf Rock

Sugarloaf Rock is situated in the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park near Margaret River in Western Australia. Since I was a teenager I have enjoyed surfing and hiking near the rock. It is a very rugged part of Western Australia's coastline, the tides and swell can be very unpredicatable. In the past fishermen and surfers have been lost to the Indian Ocean in this area.

This recording was taken on Easter Sunday. With a strong onshore wind and large swell, I sheltered behind rocks and shrubs close to the shoreline. In the recording you can hear the wind and the swell but also the rocks moving. After listening back to the recording was perplexed by the rock sounds and later realised that they probably originated from my feet as I braced against the wind on the uneven shoreline.

Sugar loaf blogmix by Matt Rösner

Early Winter Stream

This recording was taken in May just after the first winter rains started. Its of a small stream that runs from the top of the Darling Scarp onto the coastal plain near my house in Western Australia.

Water was trickling over the parched rocks and in and around the dried out reeds after a summer and autumn without rain.

- Matt

Farm stream blogmix by Matt Rösner

Friday, August 5, 2011

Woodland behind the dunes

Recorded early one morning in April 2011. The location was a small woodland directly behind coastal sandunes near Byron Bay on the NSW far north coast. The location is on the edge of the Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve, an area that forms a vital stepping stone for migrating birds. Species from north and south-east Australia overlap in the area, providing unusually diverse plant and animal communities. These types of habitats are some of my favourite to record in, there are usually lots of birds about and the dynamics of the soundscape change from day to day with the amount of swell and wave action on the beach. Sometimes the rumble of the waves is a little too much though.
Learn more about Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve here.

Behind the sand dunes by seaworthy

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Broken Estuary

In Aprill 2011, I was working on the far north coast of NSW. After considerable rainfall, many of the local estuaries that had been cut off from the ocean by an accumulation of sand now spilled across the beach as tannin stained water flowed to the sea. The overflows cut into the beach, creating new creeklike connections. The sounds here are of the fast flowing water across the beach and between debris, chunks of sand falling from the creek's edges into the water and distinct thunder as a new storm front approaches.

Broken Estuary by seaworthy

Monday, June 6, 2011

Site Listening

Make sure you pay a visit to the wonderful Site Listening website for a collection of sounds and locations in QLD compiled by Lawrence English (Room40, 12k, Touch).

Monday, April 25, 2011

Minyon Falls, Nightcap National Park

Nightcap National Park contains extensive areas of lush Gondwana Rainforests and was preserved by a determined group of conservationists in the 1980s. These photos and recordings were made during a brief visit in April 2011 to Minyon Falls. The sound composition here contains a series of recordings made surrounding the creekline leading to the falls themslves. Surrounded by dense forest, there are bird calls (as well as an occasional frog croak) but dominating the recordings are the sounds of the falls themselves that create a background drone running through most of the piece.

Minyon Falls, Nightcap National Park by seaworthy

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Lake Preston – Yalgorup National Park

Yalgorup National Park, located 100m from my front door, protects a chain of 10 lakes of high conservation importance. The park offers refuge to plant numbers of plants and animal species. Its particularly notable for its tuart woodlands, salt marsh communities, ancient thrombolites and international migratory waterbird species.

South Western Australia has undergone one of its hottest summers on record. Before the hot summer months we experienced one of the driest winters on record, with rainfall at approximately 50% below average levels.

As a result the Lake Preston and the surrounding Yalgorup Park are extremely dry. The lake is a barren almost moonscape like environment. I took a walk out on the lake a few days ago to take photos and some field recordings. It struck me on the walk home that 15 years ago this lake was used for waterskiing and sailing but in recent years the lake is dry in summer, devoid of water and filled with the a salty brine smell and the debris of bones, feathers and resilient salt marsh plant species. The sounds in the centre of the lake were limited to my footsteps, the wind and the distant hum of traffic from the nearby highway.

- Matt

Lake preston blogmix by Matt Rösner

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

World Wetlands Day 2011

Wednesday 2 February 2011 is World Wetlands Day.

The international theme for World Wetlands Day 2011 is "wetlands and forests - forests for water and wetlands" in celebration of the United Nations International Year of Forests. In Australia, probably the best known forested wetlands are the mangrove forests that line the majority of our coastal rivers and estuaries. These wetlands are important as they deliver significant ecosystem services by providing habitat for a range of wildlife. In recent years, however, mangroves have been acknowledged as not being completely beneficial to estuarine wetlands given their propensity to invade coastal saltmarsh habitats and clog smaller tributaries, leading to impoundment of tidal waters and increased suitability of habitats for pest mosquitoes. Generally though, mangroves still represent an important ecological resource in many areas of Australia as well as internationally.

In celebration of World Wetlands Day (as well as teh 40th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention), I have put together this 15 minute piece comprised of recordings made over the last 6 months or so from the wetlands of Sydney Olympic Park. This track contains recordings made using hydrophones, stereo microphones and shot gun microphones in and around the estuarine and freshwater wetlands of Sydney Olympic Park. This large area of wetlands is located close to the geographic heart of Sydney, the largest city in Australia. The sounds of the city, planes and traffic leaking into the natural sound scape. For more information on Sydney Olympic Park, please visit their website.

For more information on World Wetlands Day, you can visit the Australian Government Environment website or to find out mroe details about international events, as well as the history of the RAMSAR Convention, you can visit the RAMAR site

Above and below the wetland forest (World Wetlands Day 2011) by seaworthy

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Do birds & frogs sing differently in the city?

Wildlife can use sound to communicate in many different ways but, more often than not, they may distinctive sounds to help find a mate. One of the things I've notice while recording in urban wetlands is the large amount of noise pollution caused by traffic, industry and other human activity. I know there is a dramatic reduction in frog calling activity during evenings when the wind is strong. One field trip on the south coast we recorded about 8 species of frog calling on the first night but one the second night the wind was much stronger and we only recorded 2 frog species. How are these animals responding to "human-made" noise?

There has been some media interesting in a recent Melbourne University study that has indicated that urban noise is changing the calls of some bird species. The soon to be published study titled "Geographically pervasive effects of urban noise on frequency and syllable rate of songs and calls in silvereyes (Zosterops lateralis)" by Potvin, Parris & Mulder reports on the adaptation of birds to urban environments by calling at higher frequencies. You can read the abstract here.

It also reminded me of this paper reporting a change in the frequency of frog calls in habitats close to traffic from 2009. That paper reporting on changes in frog calls, "Frogs Call at a Higher Pitch in Traffic Noise" by Parris, Velik-Lord & North is available here Turns out it is one of the same researchers, K Parris, involved in both projects!

I guess what the work of these researchers is showing is that our natural environment can be influenced as much, perhaps, by noise pollution as other forms of pollution. While bird calls may be shifting as a result of learnt behaviours, the change in frogs call may be reflecting an evolutionary shift in animals adapted to urban environments. I'll be keen to follow the continuing work of Parris and her collegues.


Meroo National Park Management Plan

In December 2010, The Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water released the Meroo National Park Plan of Management. Below is the press release announcing the adoption of the plan:

The recent adoption of the Plan of Management for Meroo National Park ensures the protection of the park's significant cultural and natural environment values while providing for unique visitor experiences.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) South Coast Regional Manager, Ms Diane Garrood said extensive community consultation was undertaken in preparing the plan of management for the park.

"A community working group was established to assist the NPWS to prepare a draft plan," Ms Garrood said.

"The draft plan was then publicly exhibited to obtain further community input and discussions have been held on specific issues such as vehicle access to Meroo Lake."

Meroo National Park, located 5 kilometres south of Ulladulla, includes almost 4,000 hectares of high conservation value coastal forests and lake ecosystems.

It also contains the former Barnunj State Conservation Area which has now been declared part of the park. The bed of Meroo Lake is to be added to the park early next year.

"The park is of national significance for its biological and landscape values. It is home to many threatened fauna including the nationally endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog," she said.

"The plan seeks to protect these important values while continuing to provide for public enjoyment through activities such as camping, bushwalking, kayaking and fishing.

"The combination of the relatively undisturbed coastline and coastal lakes in a forested setting provides visitors with wonderful, unique experiences."

A copy of the plan can be found on the DECCW website at or printed copies obtained by contacting the NPWS South Coast Regional office at Nowra on ph: (02) 4423 2170.

The plan highlights many of the difficulties in managing coastal environments in NSW where a balance must be met between environmental conservation and recreational activities. For more information, as well as links to download the management plan, please visit the DECC website